Mixed messages as council again rules out Electric Picnic

Council says there is no provision in law to enable it to revisit refusal of event licence

Electric Picnic  2019: Laois County Council again ruled out this year’s event

Electric Picnic 2019: Laois County Council again ruled out this year’s event

 

There were mixed messages from Government on Wednesday night on whether or not the Electric Picnic festival could still go ahead in the autumn.

Organisers had hoped it would go ahead with as many as 70,000 concert-goers on the weekend of September 24th to 26th.

However, Laois County Council said on Wednesday there is “no provision in law” to enable it to revisit the refusal of an event licence for Electric Picnic.

The renewed hopes that this could happen came after chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Tuesday he would have no concerns about an outdoor event like Electric Picnic taking place if attendance was limited to the fully vaccinated.

He also suggested that only vaccinated people should be allowed to go the All-Ireland football final.

On Wednesday, Government sources pointed out that there is no legal basis for restricting outdoor events to fully vaccinated people. At the same time it also said that the licensing of concerts was a matter for local authorities.

Some Government sources suggested that Electric Picnic’s promoters could reapply with a new date along with their own requirement that concert-goers be fully vaccinated.

Restricted

There is no expectation in Government that legislation will be amended to allow for outdoor events to be restricted to vaccinated people only.

Several sources confirmed there is little chance of the Dáil being recalled to pass amendments to the existing legislation, which only governs use of the Covid pass for admission to indoor venues.

Caroline Downey, director at promoters MCD, told RTÉ Radio’s News at One yesterday they had reapplied to the council for permission to run the festival, and warned they are “running out of time”.

However, later in the afternoon the council said it cannot revisit its decision on August 4th to refuse a licence. It said the original decision was based on advice from the HSE and having regard to the Government public health measures in place.

It said that notwithstanding Dr Holohan’s comments “nothing has changed as regards advice from the HSE, nor has there been any change to the Government public health measures in place in respect of hosting of outdoor events”.

Attempts to contact MCD for comment last night were unsuccessful.

A spokesman for Minister for Culture Catherine Martin said the “Government will consider the latest formal advice from Nphet as it plans for the coming roadmap. The department is in contact with the organisers of events including Electric Picnic”.

“Minister Martin is engaged with her Cabinet colleagues about this and related events.”