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I have attended many stadium events, both here and abroad, and I have never witnessed something as shambolic as the Bruce Springsteen concert at Pairc Uí Chaoimh on Jul 18.
The concert was wonderful, enjoyed by thousands of happy fans of all ages on a beautiful, balmy summer’s evening.
I assume before such an event that a health and safety review would be mandatory to identify and rectify any potential risks to public safety. I would like answers to the following questions:
1. Who decided there were sufficient exits from the showgrounds side of the stadium to ensure no risk to the safety of patrons exiting the grounds?
Like thousands of others, we were corralled towards one exit, which was inadequate to deal with the rapidly gathering throng there. It was chaotic, dangerous and potentially disastrous. There was no coherent plan to deal with concert-goers leaving the venue. If weather had been inclement and patrons less patient, what may have ensued?
2. Who decided that thousands of people walking towards the city, along Centre Park Road, in darkness after the concert, would be acceptable and not pose a risk to safety?
I witnessed a mature woman stumble and fall in a pothole in the road, due to lack of adequate lighting, and have heard since of other, similar accidents. People had to use mobile phones to find their way.
3. Who decided the size of bar in the showgrounds-side of the stadium was sufficient to deal with the amount of potential customers? The token-purchasing system for the bar was farcical. Speaking to a senior garda after the concert, I was told a decision was taken by the gardaí to close down the system shortly after 9pm, because of the up-to-90-minute queues at the bar.
4. Who had responsibility for the organisation of the concert? Who signed off on the safety plan and deemed that all obvious risks in relation to the health and safety of concert-goers were under control? The problems that arose, especially in relation to public safety, could and should have been planned for, and potential risks addressed beforehand.
Having also attended the Springsteen concert the previous Tuesday night at Thomond Park, I witnessed exemplary organisation.
Pairc Uí Chaoimh, and its environs, are obviously in need of a major revamp, but that does not excuse the amateurish ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ type of attitude that was evident.
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