Trouble in the Park


Sir, – I hesitated to write about concerts in the Phoenix Park last weekend, as my issues seem small compared to loss of life. However, I walked a wide circle on Monday night, as I do most evenings. The park was littered with cans and bottles, not just on the main routes into the gig area, but also on every narrow path and byway from which concert-goers approached the stage. They were everywhere; thrown deep into long grass, scattered around the base of tree trunks. I am pessimistic about MCD managing to clean even a small portion of this widespread and grass-shielded detritus.

The acres of grassland reduced to mud will heal in a year or so. I slept soundly last night, following four nights of circling helicopters, passing sirens, bass speakers. Blackhorse Avenue is once again walkable for residents (as a twenty-something male I was hugely intimidated by the zombie crowds on Saturday; I would forgive anyone for spending the entire weekend hiding indoors). But I fear those cans will be there a long, long time.

These concerts were not public events. They were high-cost, high-yield music gigs benefiting private organisers and those with the money to pay for tickets. The public Phoenix Park is an inappropriate venue for a succession of such large concerts. Damaging the park at the time of the year in which it is most used and most appreciated as a green refuge by Dubliners is opportunistic and shortsighted. I hope is it not to continue. – Yours, etc,


Infirmary Road, Dublin 7.

Sir, – Brian Boyd (Opinion, July 10th) appears to be living in a bubble of music snobbery where nostalgic rockers listen with sober, misty-eyed respect to the Stone Roses, while hordes of “yoofs” overdose on lethal combinations of alcohol and drugs at an “electronic dance show”, apparently egged on by the glamorising of drugs by “today’s electronic dance music”. Swedish House Mafia are a mainstream, popular group. A group that plays to 45,000 people hardly qualifies them as “underground”.

Mr Boyd appears oblivious to the fact that it is not one single, modern genre of music that encourages gig-goers to take drugs and alcohol. Perhaps he should listen to the Beatles’ 1966 hit Day Tripper or a more modern Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (1967) before he decides to condemn “today’s generation” for listening to covert hints to take drugs.

As a welly-wearer (not designer wellies unfortunately, to disappoint the article’s generalisation) who attended Sunday’s concert in the Phoenix Park, I would advise Mr Boyd to look to the Irish attitude to binge-drinking and problems with security and stewarding before he displays such prejudice towards dance music and its fans. – Yours, etc,


Swan Road,

Durrow, Co Laois.

Sir, – So the country is shocked at what its youth get up to when they gather to drink at a music festival. Spare me.

Go to any town on a weekend night. The people who fall out of the pubs, go home with strangers and get involved in fights are the same people who are now ringing Liveline to complain about the young people.

What do you think happens at every other music festival? Those adults don’t go to listen to music – they go to get drunk. Can we please accept that the alcoholism in this country is almost beyond fixable at this stage and that no amount of “shocking scenes of drunk and disorderly youth” will stir anybody to change anything?

The change must come from us, the adults. Until we realise that children learn from their parents’ behaviour and that our present alcohol consumption is shameful, we will never succeed in showing children the danger of the drug.

Until that time, I know I will be immersed in typically Irish behaviour: adults railing all day about the young people acting like animals, before leaving work to kick back with a glass of wine or a pint from the pub. I think I’m going to be sick. – Yours, etc,




Co Laois.

A chara, – As someone who likes dance music and attends concerts from time to time, I believe that security and frisking at concerts is too lenient. The stabbings at the Swedish House Mafia concert at the weekend were dreadful.

However, they were no surprise. Put simply, concert goers are not frisked properly upon entry to the concert venues.

Drugs are openly sought and sold. It is a regular occurrence at a concert to be asked if you have drugs for sale or if you want to buy them. Some drug dealers make thousands of euro at a concert by selling pills that they conceal on their way in. Both the gardaí and concert organisers know this. They see it happening throughout the concerts.

It could all be prevented by properly frisking people by searching pockets, shoes, underwear, wallets, bags and coats. People might argue that it is too intrusive, but if weapons such as knives and screwdrivers were found it could prevent people being stabbed. If drugs were found, they could be confiscated and the dealers arrested. If people do not want to be frisked, their tickets can be ripped up and they will be refused entry. It is as simple as that.

These frisking and searching measures would make for far safer concerts and would deter drug dealers from selling their drugs at concerts. – Is mise,


Rue du Cimetière,


Sir, – Once again the mindless menace of violence has reared its ugly head in our increasingly besieged society. The barbarians have seemingly breached the metaphorical gates, but the fear and dread they wreak amongst the good and law-abiding is all too real.

Alcohol and drug abuse play their role in this sordid chaos, but they are only symptoms of a deeper malignancy in our increasingly toxic culture. The self-inflicted economic quagmire we find ourselves wallowing in has diverted our collective attentions away from the fact that morally and ethically our society is coming apart at the seams.

Even if the sorry condition of our State finances could be magically remedied in the morning, it would not change the fact that an inordinate proportion of our nation’s citizenship are unhinged sociopaths who want no stake in society but who are only too happy to violate the human rights and property of decent citizens whenever the opportunity arises, safe in the knowledge that whatever retribution the State metes out in the event that they are brought to so-called justice, will be ludicrously lenient and not worth worrying about. – Yours, etc,


Carrickmount Drive,


Dublin 14.

Sir, – Reading the reports on the anti-social behaviour evident at Saturday’s concert in the Phoenix Park, you would think that this was a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland. Give the Irish a bit of sun, an outdoor gig, all fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol/drugs and we revert to type.

For the Swedish House Mafia in 2012 I give you Bob Dylan in 1984. Now there’s a comparison you don’t see every day. – Yours, etc,




Co Meath.

Sir, – No one should be shocked by what happened in the Phoenix Park on Saturday evening (Front page, July 9th 10th).

This sort of thing can be seen on the streets of our capital – Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Street and Bridge and the surrounding areas, from 10pm through 6am every weekend night. There are numerous fights, unprovoked assaults and thefts.

Until the courts take this seriously, the problem will spiral out of control. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – After the disgraceful behaviour in the Phoenix Park last Saturday, is it not time to review the policy permitting the holding of commercial events for private profit in public amenity areas?

Apart from the Phoenix Park other amenities such as Marlay Park and the Iveagh Gardens are regularly used for this purpose. In June this year we had Dublin City Centre closed for an advertising promotion for a German beer company.

Have we totally lost our self-respect? – Yours, etc,


Lorcan Drive,


Dublin 9.