MCD criticised over Phoenix Park gig
Security was inadequate for last month’s Swedish House Mafia concert, the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said.
Mr Callinan said the event control centre for the concert was “not fit for purpose” and the Phoenix Park was an unsuitable location.
He put the blame squarely on promoters MCD for not having arrangements in place to deal with the serious incidents of public disorder which took place during the concert last month. The concert was marred by some of the worst scenes of public disorder ever seen at a music event in Ireland. Two men died of suspected drug overdoses, six were stabbed and 40 people were treated in emergency departments.
There were widespread reports of drunkenness and anti-social behaviour both inside and outside the venue, and dozens of arrests.
The findings have been disputed by MCD’s Denis Desmond, who accused the commissioner of going back on an agreement to hold further review meetings before making findings public.
Mr Desmond said he was “surprised and disappointed” that Mr Callinan had made his views public without giving MCD prior consultation. He also described the commissioner’s findings as “unbalanced” and he called for a full, independent public inquiry into what happened.
Mr Callinan’s conclusions were published in a covering letter to a report on the events of July 7th as requested by the Minister for Justice. The full report was not made public for operational reasons.
Mr Callinan said stewards did not know what the procedure was for ejecting drunken fans and the policy towards checking ID was unclear. In future, stewards will be given clear instructions by members of An Garda Síochána about refusing drunken fans entry and ejecting fans who are found drunk at outdoor concerts. He also recommended that concert promoters should provide a detailed risk assessment based on the type of audience turning up for future concerts.
Mr Callinan was especially critical of the event control centre at the Phoenix Park. He said a request for additional accommodation for Garda personnel failed to materialise and gardaí did not have adequate access to CCTV concert footage.
The high volume of incidents at the entrance gate search areas, coupled with the large number of breaches in the perimeter fencing, indicated that MCD Productions “did not have appropriate security measures in place”. He also blamed drinking from off-licences before the concert as contributing to the anti-social behaviour.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said what happened at the concert had been “shocking” and must never happen again. He praised the speed at which the report was published.
Following publication of the report, local Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick called on Minister Brian Hayes to ensure that MCD is not permitted to hold similar events until they respond in detail to the points raised in the report.
Mr Desmond called for the report to be published in full. In the aftermath of the concert, he said he had been “100 per cent satisfied” at the security arrangements and had provided nearly 50 per cent more security personnel than requested.
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