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Friday 22 September 2017

Attendees describe Christmas lights event in Dublin as 'absolute mayhem'

A large crowd watches the ceremony to switch on the Christmas lights on Grafton Street, Dublin. Picture by Fergal Phillips
A large crowd watches the ceremony to switch on the Christmas lights on Grafton Street, Dublin. Picture by Fergal Phillips
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

SOME attendees at last night's turning on of the Christmas lights on Dublin's Grafton Street have heavily-criticised the event.

Some 15,000 people turned up to watch the lights being switched on, a much bigger crowd than expected which saw the street jammed for hours and the bands cancelled.

Rachel Bennet went to the event with her family and was angry at the event’s inability to cope with the crowds.

“What they were going to do was let people in behind the barriers and let the regular shoppers walk freely. But the crowd developed and it got larger and larger - you couldn’t move, you were literally jammed in,” Ms Bennet told Liveline this afternoon.

“It was absolute mayhem. I felt sorry for everyone inside the barriers because they were jammed inside of it.”

Ms Bennet claimed the event was badly organised, with poor sound quality adding to the issues.

“You couldn’t hear anything going on whatsoever; they didn’t have speakers or anything like that,” she told Liveline.

“We went in at about a quarter to four; at six they were doing a sound check, and all you could hear was one-two one-two. Then they played three or four songs and stopped it again.

“They did the countdown, and then they said that the bands were cancelled due to the volume of people in Dublin city centre.”

Other attendees took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the event.

A statement from DublinTown, the organisers, said: “The turning on of the Grafton Street lights captured the imagination of Dubliners like never before and coupled with the mild weather the numbers were greater than anticipated.

“Due to the numbers in the interest of the safety and comfort of those in attendance we decided to shorten the programme.”

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