The Minister may appoint persons to be inspectors for the purposes of the Dangerous Substances Act and may revoke any such appointment.
An inspector shall be furnished with a certificate of appointment and when visiting any premises to which the provisions of the Dangerous Substances Act apply shall, if so required, produce the certificate to the occupier or any other person holding a responsible position of management at the premises.
Powers of inspectors.
An inspector shall have power—
- to enter, inspect and examine at all times, by day and night, any premises which he has reasonable cause to believe to be used for the manufacture, storage, packing or sale of any substance to which the Dangerous Substances Act applies;
- to take with him a member of the Garda Síochána if he has reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of his duty;
- where he has reasonable cause to believe that at any premises an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act has been or is being committed, to use force where necessary in order to enter the premises, provided he is so authorised by a warrant of a Justice of the District Court (which such Justice is hereby authorised to issue upon reasonable ground being assigned on oath) or, if it appears to him to be a case of emergency and that the delay in obtaining a warrant would be likely to endanger life, without being so authorised;
- to require the production of any document kept in pursuance of the Dangerous Substances Act and to inspect, examine and copy any such document;
- to make such examination and inquiry as may be necessary to ascertain whether the provisions of the Dangerous Substances Act or regulations thereunder are being complied with;
- to require any person whom he finds on any such premises to give such information as it is in his power to give as to who is the occupier of the premises;
- for the purpose of any examination or inquiry under this section to require any person whom he finds on any such premises, or whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be, or to have been within the preceding two months, employed at the premises, to answer, in the absence of persons other than a person nominated by him to be present and any persons whom the inspector may allow to be present, such questions as the inspector thinks fit to ask, so however, that no answer given by a person in pursuance of a requirement imposed under this paragraph shall be admissible in evidence against him in any proceedings;
- to exercise such other powers as may be necessary for carrying the Dangerous Substances Act into effect.
The occupier of the premises, his agents and servants, shall furnish the means required by an inspector as necessary for any entry, inspection, examination, inquiry, taking of samples or other power under the Dangerous Substances Act, in relation to the premises.
If any person wilfully delays an inspector in the exercise of any power, or fails to comply with the requisition of an inspector, or to produce any register, certificate, notice or document which he is required by or in pursuance of the Dangerous Substances Act to produce, or wilfully withholds any information as to who is the occupier of any premises, or conceals or prevents, or attempts to conceal or prevent, a person from appearing before or being examined by an inspector, that person shall be deemed to obstruct an inspector in the execution of his duties under the Dangerous Substances Act.
Where an inspector is obstructed in the execution of his powers or duties under the Dangerous Substances Act—
if the obstruction is in any premises, the occupier, and, if the person obstructing the inspector is not the occupier, also the person obstructing the inspector, shall be guilty of an offence,
in any other case, the person obstructing the inspector shall be guilty of an offence.
Power to require remedy for immediate Danger
If an inspector is of opinion that any premises to which the provisions of the Dangerous Substances Act apply or any part thereof or any things or practices at the premises or connected with the control or management thereof are or are likely shortly to become dangerous to person or property, he may serve on the responsible person a notice stating that he is of that opinion and giving particulars of the reason why he is of that opinion, and imposing upon the responsible person such prohibitions or restrictions or requirements (of whatsoever kind) as appear to the inspector to be necessary for the purpose of safeguarding persons or property.
Power to take samples.
An inspector may at any time after informing the licensee or, if he is not readily available, a foreman or other responsible person in the licensed premises, take for analysis sufficient samples of any substance kept or used or intended to be used in the premises being a substance in respect of which he suspects a contravention of the Dangerous Substances Act, or which in his opinion is likely to cause bodily injury to the persons employed, or which he thinks may prove on analysis to be likely to cause such injury.
The licensee or other responsible person may, at the time when the sample is taken, and on providing the necessary appliances, require the inspector to divide the sample into three parts, to mark and seal or fasten up each part in such manner as its nature permits, and—
- to deliver one part to the licensee, or other responsible person,
- to retain one part for future comparison, and
- to submit one part to the analyst,
and any analysis under this section shall, if so required, be carried out by or under the direction of the State Chemist.
A certificate purporting to be a certificate by the State Chemist as to the result of an analysis of a sample under this section shall in any proceedings under the Dangerous Substances Act be admissible as evidence of the matters stated therein, but either party may require the person by whom the analysis was made to be called as a witness.
No person shall, except in so far as is necessary for the purposes of a prosecution for an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act, publish or disclose to any person other than the licensee the results of an analysis.
For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the Dangerous Substances Act in relation to premises licensed by a local or harbour authority or in respect of which an application for a licence is made to such authority, any officer or servant of the authority duly authorised on that behalf by the authority shall have all the powers of an inspector.
Taking and detention of substances.
An inspector may take, remove and detain in his custody any substance found in the course of the exercise of any power conferred by the Dangerous Substances Act in respect of which he has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act is being or is about to be committed, together with, if he thinks fit, any receptacle containing it.
Destruction of substances seized.
Where an inspector seizes any substance under the authority of the Dangerous Substances Act and it appears to him that it would be dangerous to retain it until the matter can be dealt with by the court, then, subject to the provisions of this section, he may destroy the substance.
Unless, in the opinion of the inspector, it would be dangerous or impracticable to do so, the inspector shall, before destroying the substance, produce it to a peace commissioner and make before him a statutory declaration identifying the substance and stating his reasons for destroying it.
Where the inspector destroys the substance without so producing it he shall, as soon as possible, make a statutory declaration as aforesaid.A statutory declaration under this section shall be prima facie evidence in every court of all matters of fact stated therein.
Where an inspector makes a statutory declaration under this section in relation to any substance, he shall deliver a copy of the declaration to the person, if any, appearing to him to be the owner of the substance.
A person who contravenes any provision of the Dangerous Substances Act or of any instrument thereunder or any condition attached to a licence shall be guilty of an offence.
In the event of a contravention in or in connection with or in relation to any premises of any provision of the Dangerous Substances Act or of any instrument thereunder, the occupier or, in the case of licensed premises, the licensee shall, subject as hereinafter provided, be guilty of an offence, without prejudice to the liability of any other person.
In the event of a contravention by any person of any provision which expressly imposes any duty upon him, that person shall be guilty of an offence under this section and the occupier or licensee, as the case may be, shall not be guilty of an offence by reason only of such contravention unless it is proved that he failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent the contravention, but this subsection shall not be taken as affecting any liability of the occupier or licensee in respect of the same matters by virtue of some other provision.
Liability of directors and officers of bodies corporate.
Where an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been facilitated by any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of that body, he, as well as the body corporate shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Forgery of licences, certificates, etc.
A person who—
- forges or counterfeits any licence or certificate required for the purposes of the Dangerous Substances Act,
- gives or signs a certificate knowing it to be false in any material particular,
- knowingly utters or makes use of a licence or certificate so forged, counterfeited or false as aforesaid,
- knowingly utters or makes use of as applying to any person a licence or certificate which does not so apply,
- personates any person named in a licence or certificate,
- falsely pretends to be an inspector,
- wilfully connives at any such forging, counterfeiting, giving, signing, uttering, making use, personating or pretending,
- wilfully makes a false entry in any document required for the purposes of the Dangerous Substances Act to be kept or served or sent,
- wilfully makes or signs a false declaration when making or signing a declaration required for the purposes of the Dangerous Substances Act, or
- knowingly makes use of any such false entry or declaration,
shall, without prejudice to any other offence, be guilty of an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act.
Exemption where Consignee at Fault
Where a carrier or the owner of any vehicle or master of any vessel is prevented from complying with the Dangerous Substances Act by the wilful act, neglect, or default of the consignor or consignee of any substance to which the Dangerous Substances Act applies, or other person, or by the improper refusal of the consignee or other person to accept delivery of the substance, the consignor, consignee, or other person who is guilty of the wilful act, neglect, default, or refusal shall be liable to the same penalty to which the carrier, owner, or master is liable for a contravention of the Dangerous Substances Act, and the carrier, owner, or master shall be exempt from any penalty or forfeiture under the Dangerous Substances Act.
A person guilty of an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act for which no express penalty is provided shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
Where a person is convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act and the contravention in respect of which he was convicted is continued after the conviction, he shall be guilty of a further offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds for each day on which the contravention is so continued.
Power of court to order cause of contravention to be remedied.
Where a person is convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act, the court may, in addition to or instead of inflicting a fine, order him, within the time specified in the order, to take such steps as may be so specified for remedying the matters in respect of which the contravention occurred, and may, on application, enlarge the time so specified, and he shall not be liable under the Dangerous Substances Act in respect of the continuation of the contravention during the time so allowed, but if, after the expiration of that time, the order is not complied with, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds for every day on which the non-compliance continues.
The above offence shall be a continuing offence and accordingly fresh proceedings in respect thereof may be taken from time to time.
Prosecution of offences.
Any offence under any provision of the Dangerous Substances Act punishable on summary conviction may be prosecuted by the Minister.
A local or harbour authority empowered by the Dangerous Substances Act to issue a licence may prosecute summarily any contravention of the conditions of the licence.
Where a person is convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act the court may order that any substance or other thing in respect of which the offence was committed and which is owned by or found in the possession or control of that person be forfeited.
In lieu of forfeiture the court may impose, in addition to any fine, a penalty not exceeding such sum as appears to the court to be the value of that which is liable to forfeiture.
Where anything is forfeited under the Dangerous Substances Act the Minister may direct that it be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of in such manner as he thinks fit.
The receptacle containing anything so forfeited may also be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of in like manner as its contents.
The Minister may, for the purpose of such sale or disposal, require the owner of anything forfeited to permit the use of any vehicle containing it, upon payment of reasonable compensation the amount of which shall, in case of dispute, be determined by a Justice of the District Court.
The owner and the person having possession of anything directed to be destroyed, and the owner or other person in charge of the vehicle containing it, or some or one of them, shall, if so directed by the Minister, destroy it accordingly, and, if the Minister so directs, the vehicle may be detained until the destruction is carried out.
If the Minister is satisfied that the direction as to destruction has not been complied with and that the detention of the vehicle will not secure the safety of the public, and that it is impracticable, having regard to the safety of the public or of the persons employed in such destruction, to carry out the destruction without using or otherwise dealing with the vehicle as if it were a receptacle for that which is forfeited, the Minister may direct the vehicle to be, and it may accordingly be, so used or dealt with.
Defence of emergency.
It shall be a good defence for a person charged with an offence under the Dangerous Substances Act to prove that, by reason of inevitable accident or other emergency, the act or omission complained of was, in the circumstances, necessary and proper.
Evidence of instruments.
A document which purports to be a copy of any instrument under the Dangerous Substances Act and which has endorsed thereon a certificate, purporting to be signed by an officer of the Minister or authority by whom it was issued, stating that the document is a true copy of the instrument and that the instrument was in force on a specified day shall, without proof of the status or signature of that officer, be prima facie evidence of the instrument and that it was in force on that day.
Use of fireworks in public places.
Any person who throws or casts any fireworks in or into, or ignites any fireworks in, any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place shall be guilty of an offence.