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Buskers sound sour note over city clampdown

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Fire man

Fire man

Fire man

FLAME-THROWING, sword-swallowing and drumming may all be banned from city centre buskers under new bye-laws.

Dublin City Council has proposed an extensive list of rules that restrict and control street performances in the capital.

They include a ban on artists who use flames, knives, swords, axes and drums.

Musicians must also cut down on their performance – only one amp of no more than 15 watts is allowed and performers must not use drums.

The area where the performance takes place would also be reduced and must be located within 10 feet of the outer edge of any entrance to a business.

 

Character

Anyone who breaches any bylaw may be fined €75 and if this is not paid within the time period, it rises to €1,500.

Councillors will consider the proposals at an arts committee meeting on Wednesday.

However, buskers are expected to resist the new laws.

Street performer Oisin Charms told the Herald that the restrictive measures were a disgrace.

"It is a good thing I'm moving to Galway. Buskers are the face of Dublin – if there is no face of Dublin, the city loses its character," he said.

"If you are a tourist, you get a good experience when you come to Ireland."

But he agreed that there needed to be some sort of control on aspects of the acts.

"I think there should be regulations on the noise," he said.

"We try to be respectful and we don't play music, we just have a microphone that is amplifying our voice.

"When it comes to the fire and knives, most of us have public liability insurance.

"I've never had any problems (with knives or fire). And buskers around the world, I don't think there have been any major problems.

"It just gets too politically correct. I think that a city where there is a lot of performing, that shows the country is free."

Cllr Mannix Flynn said that the bye-laws are being introduced after it was decided that the council's voluntary code of conduct did not work. The code, trialled between August and October last year, continued to receive complaints about noise and poor quality performers.

"This is about managing the public domain," he said.

"It was coming from a lot of complaints about individuals who were persistent in creating noise – sometimes up to 2am on Grafton Street and Temple Bar.

"It became unmanageable and it was wasting garda time.

"The thing about it is the tight spaces that they are in and it was seen as a danger.

"That's not to say that you won't be able to apply for special permission such as for a festival.

"But to just walk out on the street and be flipping out knives and petrol, that's not on."

Its rules also focus on crowd control, the sale of merchandise and buskers' behaviour.

Performances will be prohibited between 11pm and 11am with an exception of Grafton Street and Temple Bar, where performances will be limited to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays only.

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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