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Street patrols to police buskers, but amps to stay

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Busker's, Eoghan Keane and Jake Regan at Grafton St yesterday.

Busker's, Eoghan Keane and Jake Regan at Grafton St yesterday.

Busker, Bogdan Ruisin at Grafton St yesterday.

Busker, Bogdan Ruisin at Grafton St yesterday.

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Busker's, Eoghan Keane and Jake Regan at Grafton St yesterday.

An on-street watchdog will be appointed by Dublin City Council (DCC) to monitor busking under new street performance by-laws, which will come into force in March.

And despite dozens of submissions from major city centre businesses pleading with the council to reduce the noise created by busking, there is to be no ban on amplification.

Assistant city manager, Brendan Kenny, yesterday told a special committee debating the final draft of the bye-laws, that the council will regularly monitor buskers' performances, come March.

"We see this as a first step in managing the public domain," Mr Kenny told the Arts, Culture and Recreation committee of the council.

The "enforcement officer" will be able to check the decibel level of performers, their distance from businesses' entrances, as well as enforcing the two-hour time limit rule that will be put on performers and where they locate themselves.

The presence of 'chuggers,' (charity muggers) unlicensed sandwich boards and street tours were also listed as obstructions to the enjoyment of the capital's streets, by some members of the committee.

However, despite 88 submissions from businesses, residents and street performers in the capital, where noise level was cited as the biggest concern, the committee voted to allow the final draft of the by-laws go to the full council for agreement, without any measure to ban the use of amplifiers.

shops

A limit of 80 decibels of noise will now be contained in the regulations and the on-street officer will measure the levels from inside nearby shops.

The assistant city manager also told the committee that it was up to them to propose an outright ban on amplification, later adding that it would be a, "bit extreme," to do so.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn was strongly in favour of banning the use of amplifiers.

"I am opposed to amplifiers, absolutely and utterly but I am not against street performance," Mr Flynn told the Herald.

He argued that a balance has to be struck between buskers and the residents and businesses who pay rents and rates in the capital. "They (the committee) ignored the noise concerns of citizens," he added.

And councillor John Lyons of the People Before Profit Alliance told the committee that the "current draft of bye-laws will suck the life out of the city".

The only change to the by-laws being put before all city councillors on February 2, is that they are reviewed next October in order to examine their impact and workability.

hnews@herald.ie


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