Dublin City Council to consider bylaws to regulate buskers

Majority of concerns expressed during public consultation relates to ‘excessive noise’

With a proposed change for Dublins busking laws on the horizon Olivia Kelly asked some buskers for their reaction.

A public consultation on Dublin buskers found an overwhelming majority of concerns related to “excessive noise”, with many participants seeking a ban on amplification.

Draft bylaws regulating the capital’s buskers will, if passed, allow gardaí and city officials to intervene based on a permit. The regulations are to be debated by councillors next week.

The public consultation, which concluded last month, resulted in 88 submissions, addressing a range of issues including volume, time limits, obstruction of business entrances, pedestrian flow, and proposed bans on “potentially dangerous performances”.

Of the submissions received, 82 per cent identified “excessive noise” as the main issue and of those, 44 per cent (31 submissions) sought an outright ban on the use of amplifiers.


In addition, 17 per cent asked that percussion instruments be banned, 15 per cent asked for amplifiers to be prohibited in some locations and 17 per cent that a volume limit be enforced.

Much of this stems from a rise in the number of bands using electric instruments and performing without limitation.

Strategic policy committee

A meeting of the Dublin

City Council

arts, culture, recreation and community strategic policy committee will debate and vote on the draft bylaws on Monday. If adopted they will then progress to February’s full city council meeting where a vote to implement would have them in force by March.

“We are not trying to stop street performers, we want to encourage it but some degree of regulation is necessary,” noted a briefing document.

"Unfortunately, in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of complaints to the city council and to An Garda Síochána. "

Regulations would require performers to apply for a €30 annual licence (€60 for amplified acts) which could be revoked for breaches with potential fines of up to €1,500. The refusal or revocation of permits may be subject to two separate appeal mechanisms.

Decibel limit

There is a recommendation that an 80 decibel limit be established and that an overall 11pm curfew be placed on all performances without exception. There had been a suggestion that activity on


Street could continue until 1am.

Artists would be required to respect a two-hour limit on performances before moving to another street, although a condition preventing them from using the same location twice in 24 hours has been recommended for removal.

Further stipulations may impose a three-metre exclusion zone from the entrance to businesses and residences, while those using “dangerous materials” – flammable liquids, sharp instruments – would have to obtain public liability insurance, rather than being prohibited from using them altogether.

Cllr Mannix Flynn, a member of the committee, said the bylaws were likely to be passed at Monday’s meeting.

“Nobody’s trying to stop buskers, nobody’s trying to be punitive, nobody’s trying to be draconian. It’s about safeguarding the experience of Dublin City.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times