Increased Garda presence for Phoenix Park concerts

Residents concerned additional officers will not be enough

 Swedish House Mafia performing at the Phoenix Park last year.

Swedish House Mafia performing at the Phoenix Park last year.

Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 08:42

Over 200 gardaí will police concerts at the Phoenix Park next week, with a warning of a “zero tolerance” approach to anti-social behaviour.

Chief Supt Declan Coburn of Blanchardstown station yesterday admitted that “lessons had been learned” after chaotic scenes at the Swedish House Mafia concert in the park last year which saw over 30 arrests and a number of stabbings. Two men who attended the concert later died from drug overdoses.

Supt John Quirke said he was confident the increased policing this year would combat any potential anti-social behaviour.

“We have spent a considerable period of time planning and preparing for this event and we have put in place what we consider to be a robust policing plan,” said Supt Quirke. He added those attending will be carefully searched. Metal detectors will also be in use.

Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, who are organising the concerts as part of MCD, said up to 125 stewards would patrol outside the venue.

A dedicated hotline has also been set up for concerned residents.

No alcohol will be allowed inside the grounds of the park this year, and there will be no parking for private vehicles. A number of road closures and diversions will also be in place around the park over the three days.

Chief Supt Coburn said because “alcohol and hot weather don’t mix,” gardaí will be launching patrols around the park from early morning. He warned gardaí will have “zero tolerance” to anyone involved in anti-social behaviour.

He said gardaí had attended a recent Dublin performance by one of the bands performing, the Killers, to profile the audience for “research purposes” in advance of next week’s concert.

Chapelizod Residents’ Association spokesperson John Martin said he remained concerned the additional officers would not be enough to police the concerts effectively.

“To lock down an area like the Phoenix Park you’d need an army,” said Mr Martin. Pointing to recent public disturbances at Portmarnock beach, Mr Martin added: “We’re in a different culture zone now and I don’t think we’re ready for this.”

There were 158 gardaí on duty at the Swedish House Mafia show last July when six members of the audience were stabbed and over 30 arrests were made.

Dublin City Council last week granted licences to promoter MCD for three concerts in the park on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday of next week, despite objections from some residents. The events will end by 11pm each night.

The full schedule for the concerts is:

Wednesday, July 10th: Justin Timberlake, with support by Jessie J and James Arthur.

Saturday, July 13th: The Killers, support by Frank Ocean, Two Door Cinema Club, Haim.

Sunday, July 14th: Mumford & Sons, support by The Vacinnes, Ben Howard, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.