Friday 20 October 2017

Tougher licensing control at events in wake of Phoenix Park mayhem

MCD's Dennis Desmond outside Garda offices on Harcourt Square following discussion about the weekends incidents at the concerts in Phoenix Park, Dublin.
MCD's Dennis Desmond outside Garda offices on Harcourt Square following discussion about the weekends incidents at the concerts in Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Tom Brady Security Editor

TIGHTER controls on the licensing of security guards at concerts and other social and sporting events are to be introduced as a review of the mayhem in the Phoenix Park is stepped up.

A key issue to be investigated is whether sufficient measures were in place to prevent drugs being smuggled into the concert by fans.

And a comprehensive assessment of the risks attached to similar concerts is to be carried out as part of the planning for future events.

Further meetings are being held between the gardai and the concert promoters, MCD, before a final report is prepared by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan for Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

The minister said it was important to establish the circumstances that led to the series of disturbing incidents on Saturday night, when a number of other concerts had been staged relatively trouble free that weekend.

He said many of those working in event security were already licensed.

But he had been working for some time, he said, on regulations that would license all individuals in the event security sector and he hoped to finalise those shortly while the Private Security Authority proposed to license all contractors in that area by the autumn.

The events of Saturday night, he added, underlined the need for society to acknowledge the damage that the misuse of alcohol could cause while it was also clear that drug taking had contributed to the disorder.

"The reality is that not all concerts pose the same type of issues and we will have to ensure that processes are flexible enough to address that.

'Conditions'

"If licences are to be granted, conditions will have to fully reflect a comprehensive risk assessment that took into account the profile of persons likely to attend," Mr Shatter added.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn suggested that concertgoers should be scanned for weapons as well as searched for drinks on their way into the events.

"The area over which we have some control, given modern technology, is to ensure that nobody is carrying a potentially lethal weapon," he said.

Initial toxicology results on the body of one of the two young men who died on Saturday night had taken a combination of drugs.

Lee Scanlon (20), from Sorrel Heath, Clonsilla, in west Dublin, died after looking for help at the medical tent at the event.

He complained of chest pains and was given CPR treatment to revive him. He was pronounced dead shortly after he was admitted to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown that evening. Initial tests have now shown that he had taken a mixture of drugs.

Meanwhile, toxicology tests are still being carried out on the body of Shane Brophy (22), from The Swan, Co Laois.

He left the concert and then went to a party at a friend's house in west Dublin where he became ill and died.

He was buried yesterday after funeral Mass at Doonane, Co Laois.

Irish Independent

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