Monday 23 October 2017

Park concert fans can expect zero tolerance – gardai

The Killers play next Saturday.
The Killers play next Saturday.

Tom Brady Security Editor

GARDAI will implement a "zero-tolerance" approach to alcohol being smuggled into three concerts in the Phoenix Park next week.

Concert-goers will have to undergo numerous searches on their way in and gardai will confiscate any alcohol, drugs and potential weapons.

More than 200 gardai, up from 158 last year, will be on duty at each gig and 125 stewards will be working outside the concert site, in addition to those inside.

The policing plan has been drawn up by the gardai with help from promoters Festival Republic, and extensive discussions with local residents.

It follows chaos at a Swedish House Mafia gig last summer where six people were stabbed during alcohol-fuelled violence and two died from drug use.

This year's headline acts include Justin Timberlake on Wednesday, followed by The Killers and Mumford and Sons next Saturday and Sunday.

Chief Supt Declan Coburn warned yesterday that people would not be allowed to drink alcohol or "lie about" in Phoenix Park. Supt John Quirke said there would be greater emphasis this year on areas outside the site.

TROUBLE

The message to concert-goers was to enjoy themselves – but also to respect the rights of local residents. A ban was being imposed on private vehicle parking in the Phoenix Park and people are being advised to use public transport, with services being provided by Dublin Bus, the Luas and Irish Rail.

Festival Republic managing director Kelvin Benn said the outside stewards would act as the "eyes and ears" of the gardai and would be positioned at the entrance to local housing estates as well as the approach roads to the concerts.

Mr Benn said that during the planning process, the Office of Public Works made it clear they wanted acts regarded as "trouble free".

The Ashtown Gate entrance to the park will be for pedestrians only, while extra toilets are being installed outside the concert site. A special hotline (01- 6790021) will be available for residents and operated by the promoters from 9am to midnight from Wednesday.

Gardai have also been examining crowds attracted by the acts at previous concerts to help formulate their plans.

Gates open at the site from 6pm on Wednesday, 5pm next Saturday and 3pm tomorrow week.

Irish Independent

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