Up to 600 festivals under threat over Civil Defence licence

Department of Defence advised over liabilities in relation to licence

The Puck Fair is one of 600 festivals that could be under threat if the Civil Defence fails to renew its licence.

The Puck Fair is one of 600 festivals that could be under threat if the Civil Defence fails to renew its licence.

 

The Puck Fair, the Rose of Tralee and up to 600 other festivals are under threat if a problem with responsibility for the Civil Defence is not settled.

The organisation provides medical support services to festivals, but legal advice given to the Department of Defence could put that in jeopardy.

To operate at events, the Civil Defence requires a licence from regulatory body the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council. The licence is due for renewal in July and its application usually includes assurances from the Department of Defence.

But now the department has received a legal warning about the potential liabilities that come with supplying those assurances given the Civil Defence answers to the local authorities, and not the department.

Up to four million people attend more than 600 not-for-profit community festivals each year, according to Colm Croffy, executive director of the Association of Irish Festivals and Events.

While the Order of Malta and St John Ambulance organisations provide cover to most large sports events, community festival events rely on the Civil Defence.

If the services provided by the organisation had to be purchased from the private sector, most festival committees would say “to hell with this, I’m off”, Mr Croffy said.

A spokeswoman for the department said all parties were “continuing to work together to resolve this issue so that there will be no diminution of services”.

*This article was amended on May 9th 2019 to correct an error