Increased security planned for Marlay Park gigs

Drug detection dogs will patrol queues at upcoming gigs in Dublin’s Marlay Park as part of security efforts to avoid a repeat of the drunken and violent scenes at Phoenix Park last month.

Music promoters MCD — behind both sets of concerts — yesterday warned people against “over emphasising” the scale of antisocial behaviour caused by a “minuscule percentage” of people at the Phoenix Park events.

Nine people were stabbed and two young men died of suspected drug overdoses following the Jul 7 Swedish House Mafia gig, one of three concerts at Phoenix Park that weekend.

Senior gardaí said as part of the “lessons learned” following the event, security arrangements for the Marlay Park gigs would include:

* Screening of people as they get on buses bound for the concerts, including warnings that alcohol will not be allowed in;

* Searches of people as they approach the park;

* Searches of everyone at point of entry, including full searches of suspect people in a private area;

* Confiscation of alcohol at entry and refused entry to people under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

* Use of drug detection dogs at entry queues;

* Use of undercover gardaí inside the grounds.

Gardaí and MCD held a joint conference yesterday on the upcoming gigs in their first public meeting since the publication of a letter by Martin Callinan, the Garda Commissioner, which accompanied a Garda review of the Swedish House Mafia concert.

His letter was heavily critical of MCD, saying it did not have “appropriate security measures” in place and that event stewards were “unclear” on MCD policies regarding age verification and how to deal with drunk people.

MCD boss Denis Desmond said the letter was “unbalanced” and called for an independent inquiry.

Superintendent Peter Duff, who is in charge of policing the Marlay Park gigs, said he was “satisfied” with the co-operation he had received from MCD.

He said he was satisfied Garda security arrangements were “sufficient” to meet the demands of the crowds, particularly the 22,00 due to attend the David Guetta concert on Aug 24. That dance event, headlined by the French house DJ, is thought to attract a partly similar fan base to that which attended the Swedish House Mafia event.

Supt Duff said there would be about 175 gardaí on duty each day, with greater security for the Guetta concert. Kasabian and Van Morrison are also performing.

Louis Harte, the MCD organiser for Marlay Park, said 120,000 attended the three concerts at Phoenix Park.

“I don’t think we should over-emphasise the fact that a minuscule percentage of 120,000 people who attended three events in Phoenix Park caused trouble. It’s over-emphasising a relatively small problem.”

Mr Desmond said “0.5%” of the 45,000 people at the Swedish House Mafia gig caused problems.

* www.garda.ie; www.mcd.ie


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