Phoenix Park 'unsuitable' for concert
Security was inadequate and the Phoenix Park was an unsuitable location for the recent Swedish House Mafia concert which ended in stabbings and a number of drug-related deaths, the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said.
Stewards did not know what the procedure was for ejecting drunken fans and the policy towards checking ID was not clear, the commissioner has concluded in his report of the concert which took place on July 7th to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.
The concert was characterised by some of the worst scenes of public disorder ever seen at a music event in Ireland.
Two men died of suspected drug overdoses having attended the Swedish House Mafia gig, six people were stabbed and 40 were treated in emergency departments.
The disorder spilled out on the streets with many passers-by saying they witnessed widespread drunkenness and violence.
In response to what happened, stewards will be given clear instructions by members of An Garda Síochána about ejecting drunken fans from concert venues in future or refusing them entry in the first place during future outdoor events.
He also said that concert promoters should have to provide a detailed risk assessment based on the type of the audience turning up for such events in the future.
Promoters MCD did not have an event control centre that was “fit for purpose” and a request by the Gardaí for additional accommodation for garda personnel “failed to materialise”, he added.
In addition garda personnel were not able to review concert footage because it has been sub-contracted out by the promoters to a contractor.
As a result, Gardaí had to request that the contractor monitor areas rather than officers being able to take the initiative themselves.
Commissioner Callinan was critical of the security provided by MCD at the concert. He said the high volume of incidents at the entrance gate search areas coupled with the large number of breaches in the perimeter fencing indicates that MCD Productions “did not have appropriate security measures in place”.
He said the Phoenix Park was not a suitable venue for an “electric music” concert of the type which took place when Swedish House Mafia played. Such incidents did not arise at Oxegen because it is away from the general population so decreasing the chances of public disorder.
He blamed the culture of drinking from off-licences before the concert as contributing to the anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the concert venues.
The report itself was not made public for operational reasons, but the covering letter set out the conclusions and lessons to be learned from the review.
Mr Shatter said what happened at the Phoenix Park had been “shocking” and it was important that such incidents did not occur again and he praised the speed at which the report was published.
A MCD spokesman said they were studying the conclusions of the report, but promoter Denis Desmond has strongly defended his company’s handling of the concert.
He said that the security personnel provided by MCD had been above that sanctioned in the licencing terms and he had been “100 per cent satisfied” with it.
Dublin City Council stipulated a minimum of 364 security personnel for each concert. Mr Desmond said MCD provided 511 security personnel and 145 gardaí within the arena which the promoters had to pay for.
He said gardaí were responsible for what happened outside the concert arena and he was not the person selling spirits to underage concert-goers from off-licences.
MCD later called the statement issued by the Gardaí “unbalanced” and called for the full report to be made public immediately.
The promoters said they were “surprised and disappointed” the cover letter was issued without “notice or consultation” with MCD and called for a full independent public inquiry to be held into the events.
MCD said it is conducting its own review of the events surrounding the concert and will publish it soon.