Council may move to curb buskers

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

Dublin City Council is considering laws to regulate busking in the city centre as some street performers continue to ignore a voluntary code of practice designed to cut down on noise pollution and nuisance.

A report by the council found 185 buskers had registered under the voluntary code introduced last July, but after initial improvements, the number of complaints received from businesses and city residents returned to pre-code levels.

Noise complaints

Grievances reported to the council relate mainly to noise, duration of time spent outside business premises, the quality and suitability of acts, and in some cases, intimidation and harassment of the public for money.

Traders surveyed at the end of a three-month trial after the code was introduced said “loud buskers with amps were making life a living hell”, while street performers reported fights breaking out over buskers who were “playing too loud, holding a spot too long, ruining it for everybody else”.

A submission from An Garda Síochána said some “unsavoury characters” were being intimidating and causing nuisance, particularly in the area in front of the GPO and on Henry Street, while noise levels were a problem on Grafton Street and in Temple Bar.

The Garda submission said street performers were aware that there was no legislation governing them, but the introduction of regulations rather than a voluntary code would “ensure a universal, uniform and transparent approach” if intervention was required from gardaí.

Council officer Margaret Geraghty, who wrote the report, said a minority of buskers were ignoring the code of practice, which was having “a significant negative impact on performers willing to work with the council and adhere to the code and reflects very badly on the reputation of the city”.

Following a meeting of the council’s arts committee yesterday, the city manager will be asked to draw up bylaws similar to those in Galway and other European cities, which could include restrictions on the type of acts and when and where they can perform, with penalties for breaches.