Over 700 complaints to Dublin City Council about buskers

Local authority expected to consider revised bylaws on street performance next month

Dublin City Council has extended the expiry dates of buskers’ permits to June 30th where they are due for renewal.

Dublin City Council has extended the expiry dates of buskers’ permits to June 30th where they are due for renewal.

 

More than 700 complaints about buskers have been made to Dublin City Council about buskers in the city centre since it introduced bylaws last year.

The laws introduced restrictions on the times buskers may perform and also limited them to two-hour stints in any one location before they have to move on.

Complaints flooded in from local businesses and residents even after their introduction in April 2015, however, with some calling for stronger enforcement action by the council. One business on Grafton Street said it had supplied noise-blocking earphones to its staff, while another complained of “tedious” renderings of “woeful karaoke versions of popular elevator hits”.

Complaints about buskers included charges that they blocked entry to shops on Grafton Street in particular, with one store manager saying customers could not enter his premises because a dance troupe repeatedly performed outside.

The council confirmed it had issued 123 warning notices and 33 fines to street performers to date. Between April 2015 and last December, 110 warning notices and 30 fines had been issued in total.

The council said the reason there had not been a large increase since the figures were last provided at the end of the year was due to the fact that “the streets were relatively quiet during the winter and spring”.

“Dublin City Council have been working with the Dublin City Buskers group to resolve issues and fewer notices were issued as a result.”

Following a recent review of the bylaws, councillors are due to consider updating them to place further restrictions on street performances in parts of the city, including some residential areas of Temple Bar. Councillors, business representatives, buskers and city centre residents met recently to discuss the issues and their findings will be presented to a policy committee later this month. If approved, the new bylaws are expected to come into force in July.

Under existing rules, buskers may not perform in public places without a €30 annual permit. Street performers who use amplification must pay twice that. They may not perform in public places after 11pm and before 9am, or before 11am on pedestrianised streets.

The bylaws cover street performance, which is defined as “performance or exhibition with the reasonable expectation or opportunity of receiving donations”.

Playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, circus skills, clowning, acting, pantomiming, puppeteering, juggling, reciting, magic acts, pavement art and sculpting are all covered by the laws.