Friday, 7 September 2012

Review of Special Event Licences needed

Dublin City Council must review how Special Event Licences are sanctioned in Dublin following July’s concerts in the Phoenix Park.

I welcome the fact that MCD, the OPW, the Gardaí and Dublin City Council special Events Licensing Department attended the meeting of the Dublin Central Joint Policing Committee that I chaired today.

The Phoenix Park is a 350-year-old national heritage site and the events that transpired in early July there were unacceptable. Human life was endangered and the recreational amenity of the Phoenix Park was greatly undermined along with the residential amenity of the local community.

Events of this nature can never be allowed to happen again in the Phoenix Park and I am happy to work with all parties; MCD, the Gardaí, the OPW and Dublin City Council to ensure that they are not repeated.

Dublin City Council is the licensing authority for special events in the city and therefore must take the lead to ensure that Special Event Licences are only issued to events with proper safety and security measures in place.

I have asked the City Manager to consider making the following changes to the process;

• There must be broader advertising of applications for Special Event Licences

• The timescales involved in the process need to be reviewed. It is not acceptable that a Special Event Licence is issued days before the event. I propose that licenses be issued a minimum of 30 days before an event

• Special Event Licences should only be issued in Dublin City after a detailed risk assessment for the event and an appropriate security plan is agreed by the event promoter, the Gardaí and Dublin City Council Area Manager

• The Garda deployment plan should include the following ;

- Live CCTV, horse mounted unit, mountain bike units, drug units, public order units, traffic units, social media monitoring and undercover units.

- Once agreed, any changes to the plan that would result in a reduction of resources must be approved by the Garda Commissioner and City Manager

• Security plans for events in the Phoenix Park must include security of residential community and businesses in the Park and the 3km radius of the venue

• The fee of €2500 for a special event license paid to Dublin City Council (DCC) is inadequate and needs to be reviewed and increased

• The fee paid to the OPW for the use of the Phoenix Park should be ring-fenced and used for investment in public infrastructure for the local community

For the Phoenix Park, the Garda plan should include the following;

- Significant Garda presence in the surrounding residential communities at least five hours prior to gates opening

- Gardaí at entrances to all residential areas adjacent to the walls of the Phoenix Park

- Access to residential estates adjacent to the Phoenix Park should be restricted to residents only. Residents should be issued with permits

- A zero tolerance approach to the consumption of alcohol and other forms of public disorder in public areas outside the concert site

It has been agreed that DCC will undertake the post event clean-up of the area surrounding the venue for which DCC should be paid by the event promoter. The hoarding around the site will be removed over the coming days.

Dublin City Council’s Special Events Licensing Officer will attend the next meeting of the Joint Policing Committee to provide an update on progress. There are no further Special Event Licenses planned for the Phoenix Park this year.