Public consultation on busking to take place in Dublin

Ban on amplification up for discussion following complaints from Grafton Street area

Dublin City Council is to hold an eight-week public consultation on the regulation of busking in the city, to be completed early next year.

Council assistant chief executive Brendan Kenny told councillors yesterday night that the situation on Grafton Street was "quite chaotic at the moment".

There had also been complaints about the quality of some buskers, he said, and the council was looking at “a system of auditions”.

He was speaking at the end of a discussion by councillors on a People Before Profit amendment which would have removed an option for public consultation calling for a ban on the use of amplification by buskers.

READ MORE

A total of 38 councillors opposed the amendment,with 12 in favour and two abstentions.

Independent councillor Christy Burke asked that buskers be made aware of the consultation.

Séamas McGrattan of Sinn Féin welcomed the involvement of the newly formed Dublin City Buskers group.

Complaints

Michael McHugh of the Anti-Austerity Alliance said that, of 150 complaints made about buskers in July, 90 per cent were from the Grafton Street area and 50 per cent came from the one complainant.

However, Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe said a total ban on amplification was “not feasible”.

Independent Cllr Mannix Flynn said “You can hardly get up Grafton Street with people in your way” due to buskers.

While he said this could cause difficulties for elderly people, he said he was “all in favour of street performances”.

All options should be open for public consultation, including amplification. “Let the people decide,” he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Larry O’Toole asked whether backing tracks qualified as amplification while Fine Gael’s Paddy McCartan felt there were “too many buskers on Grafton Street” and he was “totally opposed to amplification”.

Sinn Féin's Chris Andrews also felt amplification should be banned. Staff in shops on Grafton Street complained about it, he said.

Not all councillors were opposed to busking.

"I walk down Grafton Street every day, sometimes two and three times a day, and I love it," said Sonya Stapleton of People Before Profit.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times