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MCD blames gardaí for concert chaos

The widespread antisocial behaviour on the day of the Swedish House Mafia gig in the Phoenix Park was the result of "ineffective" policing by Gardaí, according to music promoters MCD.

In a hard-hitting report, it accused the gardaí of "breaching" their duty of care to those attending, or affected by, the concert on Jul 7.

It claims that gardaí identified the concert as "high risk" back in April and upped garda numbers by 54 to 209, but then cut that to 149 and to 145 on Jul 5.

MCD alleges the contents of a letter written by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, which accompanied a Garda report ordered by Justice Minister Alan Shatter into the event, was "highly defamatory" of MCD and "factually inaccurate".

MCD boss Denis Desmond said the actions of the commissioner and the justice minister did "no service" to frontline gardaí.

The report contains correspondence from MCD solicitors Arthur Cox, which threatens "immediate steps" to protect MCD’s interests if the commissioner continued to refuse to supply a copy of the Garda report.

Mr Desmond said the commissioner had reneged on an agreement made by MCD and gardaí following the Jul 7 gig to conduct their own reviews and then review each other’s progress towards the end of August and not comment publicly beforehand.

He said the commiss-ioner sent the Garda report to the minister on Jul 25 without giving prior notice to MCD and the minister published the commissioner’s covering letter on Aug 2.

The letter said MCD "did not have appropriate security measures in place" given the incidents at entry and breaches of perimeters and that the event control centre was "not fit for purpose".

It said gardaí had "lim-ited access" to CCTV and security staff were "unclear" about removing intoxicated people and gardaí were not fully briefed by MCD on the likely conduct of concertgoers.

The MCD report said incidents were in "no small part due to the failure of gardaí to enforce the law" both in Phoenix Park and its environs on the supply and consumption of alcohol and its "tolerance" of antisocial behaviour. It said the gardaí had no plan to deal with those evicted or refused admission.

It said the gardaí never raised concerns about the "fitness" of the control centre or access to the CCTV system. It said there had been extensive planning and discussion about the crowd attending. It said gardaí were aware in February of the artist and themselves assessed the gig as "high risk" in April.

The MCD report said policing was "ineffective" given the "widespread" antisocial behaviour. It said: "One of the consequences of the policing policy was the serious incidents of anti-social behaviour witnessed in the vicinity of Phoenix Park and further afield.

"The policing operation would appear to have ... breached the duty of care owed by the gardaí to concertgoers, the general public, local residents, the concert prom-oter and staff."

Disorder

Gardaí and music promoters MCD came under fire yesterday at a policing committee examining public disorder at the Swedish House Mafia gig in Phoenix Park on Jul 7.

Several TDs and councillors described the events that day as a "disaster" and accused gardaí of "not doing their homework" and claimed MCD were "minimising the violence".

The Dublin City Council central area joint policing committee also heard:

* The State pocketed €400,000 from the three concerts at Phoenix Park, of which Swedish House Mafia was one;

* Four more people have been arrested this week in relation to stabbings at the concerts and files are going to the DPP;

* The OPW, which manages Phoenix Park, and Dublin City Council backed MCD’s security operation on Jul 7.

Joe Costello TD strongly criticised the presentations made by the gardaí, MCD, the OPW and Dublin City Council to the committee.

He said they sugges-ted everything was "hunky dory" and proper protocols were followed.

"Nevertheless it was pretty much a disaster inside and outside."

Maureen O’Sullivan TD said: "It appears every I was dotted and T crossed — so what went wrong?" She said suggestions the weather and the drink culture was to blame was not enough.

Chief Supt Declan Coburn rejected claims gardaí did not do their homework. He said intelligence reports on the band did not suggest "anything untoward".

He did say the crowd demographic for the day was "completely different" from the other nights and extra gardaí were on duty (158, as opposed to 122 the other nights).

Michael Slattery of MCD said the "core issue" was antisocial behaviour caused by 0.5% of the crowd.

— Cormac O’Keeffe