MCD boss: Cheap drink to blame for Park violence

MCD boss Denis Desmond believes cheap alcohol fuelled the violence at the controversial Swedish House Mafia concert in Phoenix Park.

Nine people were stabbed during a wave of violence.

The leading promoter promised a policy of zero tolerance at the upcoming Marlay Park concerts with sniffer dogs and full body searches set to be used to combat potential violence.

He told the Ray D’Arcy Show he believed the difference between the trouble-free concerts in Phoenix Park a decade ago and the recent gig was the easy access to cheap drink.

“We had 120,000 people at the Phoenix Park for Robbie Williams and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the exact same site and there were no issues whatsoever.

“You have less than 1% which is a couple of hundred people. What is the difference at the moment between when we did Phoenix Park 10-odd years ago and now? My own personal opinion is cheap alcohol. I think cheap alcohol is a major contributing factor.

“You walk into supermarket at the moment there is more shelf space for alcohol than there is for food. Kids have access to it.”

He said MCD had a series of meetings with gardaí before the infamous concert.

“We’re bringing people into the city and it good for the city, the hotels are full and there is a lot of money being spent. The negative is an influx of people who are boisterous and probably there was an attitude taken by the authorities that was a bit laidback. We work well with the police. There is no confrontation between MCD and the police.”

However, he said it can be hard to legislate for an individual who carries out multiple stabbings.

“I regret the fact that nine people were stabbed most definitely and it is tragedy that there were two fatalities from drug abuse. But no I don’t regret doing the show. There were nine stabbings but one individual carried out five of them. It shouldn’t have happened. You can never legislate.”

He said the promoters and the gardaí are introducing a zero-tolerance policy in relation to the upcoming Marlay Park gigs.

“At Kasabian on Thursday and at [David] Guetta there will be sniffer dogs and there will be full body searches, not of everybody obviously, carried out by the police. That will be a deterrent for that small percentage of people.

“There is zero tolerance regarding drinking in public places. The local supermarkets and off licences have come on board and they are going to have a policy that people under 25 cannot purchase without affecting the local residents who want to buy their bottle of wine.

“We have learned a lot. I think everybody has learned a lot. It’s a small percentage of people but unfortunately they are causing issues for all of us and the majority of concert-goers. What we have to do going forward is get it across to people that anti-social behaviour is not acceptable and won’t be tolerated.”

He also confirmed that Oxegen would be back in operation next summer. “The plan next year is to do a two-day event and look at reducing the ticket price.”


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