Buskers may now need a permit to perform in city
Dublin buskers could soon have to have a permit to perform if plans by the city council get the green light.
Proposals to have street performers apply for permits are to be put before councillors and the measures could be in place as early as January next.
The council is also considering a ban on amplifiers in certain parts of the city.
Busking has been a hot topic in Dublin in recent years, with some seeing them as a welcome addition to the city while others view them as a noisy annoyance.
"We see them as a good thing in general and the tourists seem to love them," said assistant chief executive of Dublin City Council Brendan Kenny
"However, if you are a business owner and have one outside your door singing the same song for hours or using a loud amplifier then it is a different story," he added.
"We had looked at different ways of introducing by-laws which would cover amplification, and other issues, and got together with buskers, business owners and gardai.
"We also considered a decibel limit, but it was felt that the laws would be virtually unenforceable so the permit idea was the next option," Mr Kenny explained.
"Permits would be issued for a fixed period, and if there were any consistent breaches of the permit conditions, then that permit could be revoked. It would be a bit easier to enforce, in that if you don't have a permit you can't busk," he explained.
Getting a permit is expected to cost a busker a fee of around €20 a year. "It would basically be a fee to cover the cost of the permit scheme, we are not looking at it as a source of revenue," said Mr Kenny.
The Herald asked Mr Kenny if either Revenue or the Department of Social Protection would have access to the database on who is operating as a busker and earning money from it.
"We don't see that as an issue. It is more a system for regulating busking in the city because there have been numerous complaints about the actions of some operators," he said.
"Using amplifiers seems to be one of the biggest bones of contention, so we might explore limiting the use of them to certain parts of the city that are more open," he explained.