Garda failed in its duty to police concert, says MCD

 

PROMOTER MCD has accused An Garda Síochána of failing in its duty to police the recent Swedish House Mafia concert in the Phoenix Park, which was marred by drunkenness and violence.

In a detailed report published yesterday afternoon, MCD claimed the Garda adopted a low-key approach to policing, which was inadequate given what occurred on the day.

The Garda did not enforce the law within the Phoenix Park and its environs, and failed to control public drunkenness outside the venue, MCD said.

As a result it had an “overwhelmingly adverse effect on the sobriety of the audience seeking to attend the event”.

The concert on July 7th was marred by some of the worst scenes of public disorder ever witnessed at a music event in Ireland.

Six people were stabbed and 40 were treated in emergency departments.

There were more than 30 arrests for knife attacks, public order offences, drug possession and drug dealing.

Two men who attended the concert died afterwards from suspected drug overdoses.

MCD cited an internal Garda document issued to gardaí as proof that they took a “hands-off” approach to policing on the day itself.

MCD claims the document, which issued policing instructions for the Stone Roses concert, also pertained to the two other concerts at the park, as it contained details on what to do with arrested suspects for all three concerts.

The document stated that “the general policy will be that arrests are to be avoided and only resorted to when all other options have failed”, and that individual gardaí “should use discretion when making an arrest and consult with their immediate supervisor”.

MCD says this approach contributed to “a serious lack of respect and disregard for the gardaí and security alike by a certain element within the audience whose attitude appeared to have been contributed to by the gardaí’s relaxed policing approach adopted earlier in the day outside the venue”.

MCD further claims that a risk assessment carried out on April 16th in relation to the three concerts stipulated that the Swedish House Mafia concert should be policed by 206 serving gardaí, but that number was reduced to 149, and only 145 were on duty during the day.

MCD says the reduction was made “without explanation”.

The report is a response to a cover letter sent by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter outlining the Garda’s response to the events at the Swedish House Mafia concert. The report that the cover letter refers to has not been made public for “operational reasons”. The commissioner blamed MCD for much of the trouble. He said the Phoenix Park was not a suitable place for a concert such as the Swedish House Mafia; that MCD “did not have appropriate security measures in place”; and that stewards were not given clear instructions on how to eject drunken fans.

He also maintained the event control centre in the Phoenix Park was inadequate, and that gardaí did not have sufficient access to CCTV concert footage

In response, MCD stated that the Garda never objected to the venue in advance of the concert; that the Garda did not complain about the event control room at any of the concerts; and that gardaí were “at no stage” refused access to the CCTV footage.

The MCD report recommends a “zero-tolerance approach” to all antisocial behaviour or drinking in public. MCD owner Denis Desmond called for the Garda report to be made public and for a public inquiry to be held into the events of July 7th.

The Garda, in a statement last night, said its position remains as set out in the commissioner’s letter to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence on July 25th last.