Probe into chaos around Springsteen concert

A review is under way into potentially serious crowd control problems after the Bruce Springsteen concert in Cork, which sparked fears of a Hillsborough-type crush incident.

Thousands of concert-goers were corralled towards one small gated exit outside the Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA stadium after Thursday’s gigs. Huge queues built up in the Showgrounds area as the exit struggled to cope with the volume of people streaming out on to Monahan Road.

As fans continued to flood out of the stadium, the queue stalled with delays of up to 45 minutes reported.

Fans closer to the gate began to panic as the crowds swelled to the rear — there was some crushing at the front. It resulted in gardaí ordering the GAA to open a second gate, redeploying officers to that area.

Stewards then advised fans to scale fences and cross an open field to leave by this gate.

Angry concert goers vented their fury at organisers yesterday.

“Thomond [Springsteen played there on Tuesday] was so much better organised and safer. Last night was a health and safety hazard when leaving the grounds,” said Louise Murphy.

Alan Cogan said it was a great gig, but disgraceful organisation. “Hang your heads in shame organisers and say a prayer you aren’t waking up to a tragedy that would be fully of your making,” he said.

Concert goers also complained about the operation of the bar voucher system, with delays of up to two hours reported at some alcohol outlets.

Concert promoter Peter Aiken, who staged the gig in association with the GAA, said he was “annoyed” that the crowd problems had developed.

“I have asked our event controller, and the various bodies that were involved, for a full report, so I can’t comment in detail on it until I’ve seen that report. But it shouldn’t have happened.”

Supt Barry McPolin, who is in charge of policing in the city, said there was an initial debrief of the situation after the concert. However, he said all the agencies involved (including the concert promoters, the GAA, gardaí, the HSE, and the city officials who granted the concert licence) will be invited to attend a formal review of the entire event over the coming weeks.

“The exit issue from the venue will form part of a forensic review of the event in the near future and any lessons that need to be learned from the management of the event will be incorporated into any future events that may take place here,” he said.

He praised concert-goers for following Garda and steward directions. “There were no arrests associated with the concert. The crowd were good natured and in great form.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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