MCD places blame on Garda

Thu, Sep 6, 2012, 01:00

Concert promoter MCD has accused An Garda Síochána of failing in its duty to police the Swedish House Mafia concert which was marred by drunkenness and violence.

In a detailed report published today, MCD claimed gardaí adopted a low key approach to policing which was inadequate given what occurred on the day. They did not enforce the law within the Phoenix Park and its environs and failed to control public drunkenness outside the venue, MCD said.

As a result it had an “overwhelmingly adverse affect on the sobriety of the audience seeking to attend the event”.

The concert on July 7th was marred by some of the worst scenes of public disorder ever witnessed at a music event in Ireland.

Six people were stabbed and 40 were treated in emergency departments. There were more than 30 arrests for knife attacks, public order offences, drug possession and drug dealing.

Two men who attended the concert died afterwards from suspected drug overdoses.

MCD cited an internal Garda document issued to gardaí as proof that they took a “hands-off” approach to policing on the day itself. It claims that the document which issued policing instructions for the Stone Roses concert also pertained to the two other concerts at the park as it contains details on what to do with arrested suspects for all three concerts.

The document stated that “the general policy will be that arrests are to be avoided and only resorted to when all other options have failed” and that individual gardaí "should use discretion when making an arrest and consult with their immediate supervisor".

MCD further claim that a risk assessment carried out on April 16th in relation to the three concerts stipulated that the Swedish Mafia Concert should be policed by 206 serving gardaí, but that number was reduced to 149 and only 145 were on duty during the day.

MCD says the reduction was made “without explanation”.

The report is a response to a cover letter sent by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter outlining the gardaí's response to the events of the Swedish House Mafia concert which took place on July 7th.

The report which was the subject of the cover letter has not been made public for operational reasons.

Mr Callinan blamed MCD for much of the trouble. He said the Phoenix Park was not a suitable place for a concert such as the Swedish House Mafia, MCD “did not have appropriate security measures in place” and stewards were not given clear instructions on how to eject drunken fans.

He also maintained the event control centre in the Phoenix Park was inadequate and gardai did not have sufficient access to CCTV concert footage

In response MCD stated that gardaí never objected to the venue in advance of the concert, neither did they complain about the event control room at any of the concerts and gardaí were “at no stage” refused access to the CCTV footage.

The MCD report recommends a “zero tolerance approach” to all anti-social behaviour or drinking in public.

MCD owner Denis Desmond called for the Garda report to be made public and for a public inquiry to be held into the events of July 7th.

In a statement tonight, An Garda Síochána said its position in relation to the concert in the Phoenix Park “remains as set out in the Commissioner's letter to the Minister for Justice”.

“The priority of An Garda Síochána is to do everything within its power and work with all the parties involved to ensure that there is no repetition at future events of the type of incidents which took place at the Phoenix Park concert,” it said.