Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Phoenix Park gig scenes 'appalling'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the events at Phoenix Park as 'simply scandalous'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the events at Phoenix Park as 'simply scandalous'

Phoenix Park will not be shut for concerts in the wake of drug deaths and stabbings at last weekend's dance and rap event.

Amid continued fallout over street drinking, fighting and open drug taking, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the scenes as appalling.

"The video pictures of what happened out there are absolutely disgraceful, appalling, and that three young people died is simply scandalous," he said.

Brian Hayes, the minister responsible for the Office of Public Works (OPW) which earns a substantial six-figure sum for leasing the venue, said reaction to the gig headlined by Swedish House Mafia had been justified.

He added: "The instances that occurred on Saturday are unacceptable. When instances like this occur it is very serious, it is wrong and we need to find out what went wrong. But I would not preclude the opportunity for other concerts there in the future."

Promoters MCD held talks with senior gardai in Dublin city centre as a report is prepared for Government over the causes and response to what happened inside and around the concert venue on Saturday.

The three-day Phoenix Park event was organised as a scaled-down alternative to the cancelled Oxegen music festival in Punchestown, Co Kildare. There were at least two deaths linked to drug overdoses while 22-year-old Raymond Donnan from Greenfort Crescent in Clondalkin, Dublin, was refused bail on charges in relation to several stabbings.

MCD has rejected suggestions that security was insufficient and insisted more gardai and civilian guards were hired for Saturday's event than required under licence.

The scenes of street drinking, unconscious concert-goers, drug taking and fighting have been replayed across phone-in radio shows over the last two days, mainly RTE's Liveline. The Taoiseach questioned whether the choice of music event played any part in the behaviour.

"I made the point that 800,000 people turned up in Galway for the Volvo finale without any incident and this particular concert in Phoenix Park was in-between two others where there were no incidents at all. Whether it's in relation to the sort of music that is played there or not, in any event, it's tragic for the families involved here."

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