| 12.7°C Dublin

Promoter MCD blames 'ineffective policing' for Phoenix Park gig chaos

CONCERT promoters MCD launched a blistering attack on gardai last night, accusing them of ineffective policing of the controversial Swedish House Mafia gig in July.

MCD accused the force of taking a "relaxed" approach to policing outside the Phoenix Park venue in Dublin and having no adequate strategy in place to deal with those refused entry.

The July 7 gig was marred by violence and anti-social behaviour, while two people later died as a result of suspected drug overdoses.

Last night, MCD Productions managing director Denis Desmond repeated his call for a public inquiry.

"MCD hereby repeat their request that the garda report be immediately released and a public inquiry be set up to investigate the events surrounding the Phoenix Park concert."

Gardai finalised its review of the concert last month and laid the blame with MCD, stating they had not taken proper security measures.

But the promoter hit back at gardai, accusing the force of completing its review without prior notice given to MCD despite an agreement to meet at the end of August to review progress. Key claims of the MCD review include:

• The style of policing in Phoenix Park and further afield was "ineffective in dealing with the wide-spread incidents of anti-social behaviour" and was an "inappropriate response" to the criminal activity present on the day.

• The policing policy was a contributory factor in exacerbating the incidents of anti-social behaviour.

• Gardai were aware of the identity of the artist from February 28 and that the concert was deemed a higher risk than two other concerts involving the Stone Roses and Snow Patrol held before and after the Swedish House Mafia gig.

• Gardai reduced its personnel from 206 promised in April to 145.

• The policing plan was inadequate and breached the duty of care owed to concert-goers, general public, MCD and staff.

• At no stage did gardai raise any objections to either MCD's event licence application or liquor licence application.

• No instruction was given to close down the on-site bars in the concert arena over concerns about excessive alcohol consumption.

• The volume of incidents at the entrance gate search areas and breaches in perimeter fence were due in no small part to failure of gardai to enforce the law.

• Some issues raised in the letter from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan were both "factually incorrect and highly defamatory". MCD said it also left out many relevant facts and information.

• MCD said there was no evidence to suggest the concert site was unsuitable and that gardai failed to implement laws to deal with anti-social behaviour.

• At no stage were gardai refused access to CCTV, and no complaints were received about the fitness for purpose of the event control room.

• There was a serious lack of respect and disregard for gardai and security, which appeared to have been contributed to by gardai's "relaxed" policing.

Gardai said its position remains the same as set out by Commissioner Martin Callinan to Justice Minister Alan Shatter in its review.

Irish Independent