Belfast Telegraph

Promoters criticised over concert

Concert promoters MCD did not have appropriate security measures in place at a Phoenix Park gig marred by violence and tragedy, a damning report found.

Nine people were stabbed and 30 arrested at a Swedish House Mafia gig last month, sparking Justice Minister Alan Shatter to order a review.

Tragedy also struck when three men died of suspected drug overdoses at the day long event on July 7.

Garda commissioner Martin Callinan criticised MCD for picking the city centre venue for an "electric music" event, which he claimed attracted revellers who did not have a ticket.

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 around perimeter fencing showed MCD did not have appropriate security for the type of crowd.

Gardai also had limited access to CCTV operations and an event control centre was not fit for purpose, he found. He called on MCD to review its policy on searching revellers and on taking alcohol off young patrons - many arrive at gigs with take-out and cause trouble when it's seized.

"There are a number of lessons to be learned by all agencies in respect of the staging of large outdoor concerts in the Phoenix Park," he added. He published a covering letter from the commissioner, but not the full report as it contained extensive operational detail.

MCD managing director Denis Desmond said he was disappointed the Garda commissioner made his comments without any notice or consultation with the company.

"This was despite agreement with the Garda commissioner's office on July 10, 2012 that further review meetings would be held between both parties prior to the publication of any Garda or MCD reviews," he said.

Mr Desmond also called for a full independent public inquiry into the events at Phoenix Park. He insisted the organisation would continue to conduct a "full and comprehensive" review and will publish its own report in due course.


From Belfast Telegraph