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Gardai Propose Ban On "Electric Music" in Phoenix Park
MCD criticises publication of Garda Commissioner's letter
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 03 Aug 2012
An Garda Síochána are proposing a ban on what they describe as “large scale outdoor electric music” concerts in the Phoenix Park following the violence, which mired Swedish House Mafia’s July 7 gig there.
“The Phoenix Park is an urban location in close proximity to a wide population demographic,” Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan says in a covering letter to the as yet unpublished police report into the disturbances. “In the recent past similar concerts were held at the Oxygen Festival, which is located in a rural location with limited access. This reduces the number of non-concert patrons congregating in the vicinity of the concert and the probability of potential public order incidents.”
The letter – which can be read as an apologia on behalf of the Gardai in relation to their role in the event – is written to the Secretary General in the Department of Justice and is also critical of aspects of the security, the construction of the control centre and the operation of temporary lighting, among other items.
The comments have brought swift condemnation from MCD Managing Director Denis Desmond.
“MCD is surprised and disappointed that the covering letter from the Garda Commissioner relating to the unpublished report into events at the 7th July concert in the Phoenix Park was issued without any notice or consultation with MCD,” he says. “This was despite agreement with the Garda Commissioner’s office on 10th July 2012 that further review meetings would be held between both parties prior to the publication of any Garda or MCD reviews.
“We view this statement issued by An Garda Siochana today as unbalanced and call for the full Garda report to be made public immediately. MCD would also call for a full independent public inquiry be held into events, which occurred at the Phoenix Park on 7th July last.
“MCD are continuing to conduct a full and comprehensive review into events of 7th July 2012 and will publish their full report in due course.”
Commissioner Callinan goes on to say that, “Had An Garda Síochána been fully briefed on the likely conduct of the patrons associated with the Swedish House Mafia concert a separate public order unit would have been employed within the concert venue to perform the role of a snatch squad if required and separate reserve units to respond to incidents of a minor nature. In addition the use of the public order units to conduct a sweep of the Phoenix Park after the concert to remove individuals was an effective public order tactic.
“An Garda Síochana recommends that concert promoters tendering for contracts to promote concerts in OPW or other public locations are required to stipulate the artist/type of music e.g. ‘electric music’ that they intend to perform at each concert date as well as providing a detailed risk assessment based on the type of audience which is likely to attend the event. In this instance the artists were not confirmed until the 7th March 2012.”
The irony of the Garda Commissioner using the term "electric music" will not be lost on fans of acts like Swedish House Mafia, whose music is generally described as "electronic" dance. It's unlikely that the Commissioner is proposing a ban on all "electric music", as this would in effect prevent the staging of any major concert in a park that in recent years has staged successful – and trouble free gigs – by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Tom Waits, Snow Patrol and The Stones Roses.
From Hot Press' own observations of the document, it's not at all clear that this is in fact a covering letter and may in fact constitute the entire Garda Report into the matter.