Danger cited at rugby match

 

The Fine Gael leader in the Seanad, Mr Maurice Manning, accused the Irish Rugby Football Union of exhibiting an extraordinary complacency and smugness in the face of many complaints about crowd dangers outside the Lansdowne Road Stadium last Saturday. Calling for an urgent debate on crowd control at major events, Mr Manning, who attended the rugby international between Ireland and New Zealand All Blacks, said that between 2.30 and 3.15 p.m. there had been a crowd disaster waiting to happen.

He had witnessed at first hand a very frightening and dangerous situation, he said. Large numbers of people were being funnelled into the Lansdowne Road end. The DART gates were closed for a time, and new barriers had been erected at the Shelbourne Road intersection. It would have taken just a sudden rain shower, or exuberance or recklessness by sections of the crowd, to cause people at the back to push forward, and a major disaster would have occurred.

Mr Manning said he would like to see a statement from the gardai about the situation. It would be too late when a major tragedy happened. He found it extraordinary that the DART gates were closed, creating a cul-de-sac in Lansdowne Road.

The House leader, Mr Donie Cassidy, told the House a debate on crowd safety could be arranged to take place in the coming weeks.