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Drug Unit gardai to patrol all gigs in Phoenix Park

TWENTY drug unit gardai are to be stationed inside this summer's Phoenix Park concerts, residents have been told.

The team will be backed up by community gardai, bicycle mounted officers, mobile patrols and a large contingent of private security personnel.

All park entrances, including at Chapelizod, Navan Road, Infirmary Road and Conyngham Road will be manned by gardai and stewards.

Before the concerts, off-licences and pubs will be reminded of their legal obligation not to sell alcohol to underage customers.

Gardai will also ensure cells at the Bridewell and Ballyfermot stations are available for detaining arrested individuals.

PROMOTERS

The details were provided by Superintendent John Quirke at a meeting for residents organised by Fine Gael councillor Ruairi McGinley.

Some 20 members of the garda drug unit will be inside the gigs, while community gardai, 20 bicycle officers and mobile patrols will be on duty.

Concert promoters MCD will pay for the deployment of all extra gardai, Mr McGinley said.

In Chapelizod Village, six gardai will be on patrol.

Portaloos for concert-goers will be provided, probably inside the gates of the park.

Unlike at last year's Swedish House Mafia gig, no drinking is to be allowed in the park.

While gardai cannot stop adults carrying alcohol, officers can seize it if it is being openly consumed, residents were told.

Subject to licences being granted, Mumford and Sons, Justin Timberlake and The Killers will play in the Phoenix Park in July.

At last year's Swedish House Mafia concert, seven people were stabbed and two concert-goers later died of suspected drug overdoses.

EXTENSIVE

"My opinion is that we've learned lessons from last year and I think the concerts should go ahead this year, subject to having enough gardai," Cllr McGinley said.

While not fully finalised, the garda policing plan for July's events is far more extensive than arrangements a year ago.

At the Swedish House Mafia concert, 145 gardai and hundreds more private security personnel were on duty.

Some 33 arrests were made, leading to 70 charges being brought before the courts.

In the wake of the event, the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, said security at the concert was inadequate.

In a report, Mr Callinan stated stewards did not know what the procedure was for ejecting drunken fans and the policy towards checking ID was not clear.

In response, MCD strongly defended its handling of the gig, saying security personnel provided by the company had been above the number sanctioned in the licensing terms.

comurphy@herald.ie


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