Gardaí: Ban dance music events in Phoenix Park

Electronic or dance music events should be banned from Phoenix Park as a direct result of the Jul 7 stabbing tragedies, a damning Garda report has claimed.

A five-page redacted version of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s investigation into the incidents has raised serious concerns over a series of security issues related to the incidents at the Swedish House Mafia gig.

The document has warned adequate security procedures were not in place; policies on tackling drug taking, drug dealing and fake IDs were unclear; earlier garda safety requests were not met; and CCTV blind spots prevented safe monitoring of what was happening.

However, concert promoter MCD — which was heavily criticised in the report — has hit back, claiming last night that the garda investigation is flawed and calling for a public inquiry into what happened.

According to the investigation report — heavily redacted for garda operational reasons — into how nine people were stabbed, two lost their lives and 30 were arrested during the high-profile event, MCD did not have appropriate security measures in place.

Specifically, Mr Callinan said the Phoenix Park venue was unsuitable for an “electric music” event, which he claimed attracted revellers who did not have a ticket and was too easy to access.

He said stewards were responsible for searching bags and checking patrons with hand-held metal detectors and a pat-down, but the high volume of incidents at the entrance and perimeter fencing showed MCD did not have appropriate security for the crowd.

Gardaí had limited access to CCTV operations and an event control centre was not fit for purpose, he said, while there were unclear policies on how to tackle drug dealing and taking.

The senior garda officer has also called on MCD to review its policy on searching revellers and on taking alcohol off young patrons. His cover letter conclusion stated: “It is now clear that had An Garda Síochána been fully briefed on the likely conduct of the patrons associated with the Swedish House Mafia concert, a separate (third) public order unit would have been employed within the venue.”

The document, which was concluded on Jul 26, was drawn up at the request of Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who described the violence as shocking in the aftermath of the incidents.

In a statement last night, MCD promoter Denis Desmond said the garda report is “unbalanced”.

Defending his company’s handling of the event, he said the number of security personnel provided by MCD was above that sanctioned in the licencing terms and he was “100% satisfied” with it.

Dublin City Council stipulates a minimum of 364 security staff for each concert. Mr Desmond said there were 511 security personnel and 145 gardaí present.

He said gardaí were responsible for what happened outside the concert arena. MCD has called for the full garda report to be made public immediately, that it was not notified of last night’s publication, and the firm is conducting its own review of what happened.


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