US embassy warns citizens against attending Longitude festival

Bureau of consular affairs says three-day event at Marlay Park has ‘potential for violence’

 People enjoying Longitude Festival at Marlay Park on Friday. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

People enjoying Longitude Festival at Marlay Park on Friday. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

 

US state department advice that American citizens should stay away from the Longitude festival this weekend has been described as “beyond ridiculous” by the festival organiser.

MCD promoter Denis Desmond said he was shocked and completely in the dark as to why the state department and the US embassy in Ireland had advised its citizens not to go.

The festival continues until Sunday at Marlay Park in south Dublin and the rap-dominated line-up features acts including Ski Mask the Slump God, Cardi B and Stormzy.

The US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs tweeted in advance of the festival: “#Dublin #Ireland: Reports indicate a potential for violence at the Longitude Festival taking place from July 5-7 in Marlay Park. Police have increased event security and are monitoring the situation. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution if in the area.”

The US embassy elaborated on the warning advising US citizens that “local police are aware of the threat and will conduct comprehensive bag and person searches. The police have increased event security and are monitoring the situation.”

The embassy advised US citizens to avoid Marlay Park and surrounding areas, to exercise caution if in the vicinity and monitor local media for updates. It also advised citizens to keep a low profile and “notify friends and family of your safety”.

A spokesman for the embassy said he had no further information beyond what was issued in the security notice and referred the matter to the garda press office.

An Garda Síochána said the force “does not comment on statements made by third parties”. However, it added that no incidents have been reported to date and Longitude is “policed appropriately following normal security risk assessment”.

Mr Desmond said he had “no idea” why the US authorities had gone to such lengths to advise its citizens against attending the festival.

“Contact the US embassy and ask them,” he said when asked about the warning. “There are 35,000 people here having a good time and there are no issues whatsoever.

“There is something not adding up about all this. I don’t get it all. There are more questions than answers to quote that old blues song.”

It is a busy weekend for music festival goers. Westlife are playing concerts at Croke Park on Friday and Saturday night.

A mature crowd is epxected to attend the Forever Young festival in the Palmerstown House Estate in Naas where dozens of 1980s acts including The Human League, Jimmy Somerville, Holly Johnson, Level 42 and Heaven 17 are on the bill. The US state department has issued no advisory against American citizens attending either of these events.