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MCD on Phoenix Park
Read their full statement.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 06 Sep 2012
MCD has published its review of the Phoenix Park concerts.
Denis Desmond makes it clear in his introductory brief that he’s not happy with An Garda Siochana’s post-gig conduct.
“In the aftermath of the Phoenix Park concert on the 7 July 2012, MCD met with An Garda Siochana on 10th July 2012 to discuss the problems surrounding the event,” he says. “The parties agreed that a process be undertaken which involved both carrying out their own reviews of the events surrounding the concert.
Both parties further agreed they should hold a number of meetings to discuss the matter, and agreed the next meeting should take place towards the end of August 2012 to review each others progress in undertaking such review. Both parties also agreed neither one of them would engage any further with the media in the interim. However, the Garda Commissioner decided to do otherwise. Without any prior notice or consultation with the Promoter – and in direct breach of the agreement they had reached with MCD regarding how their process/review into the events surrounding the concert should proceed – An Garda Siochana went ahead and unilaterally completed and finalised their own said process/review and report into the concert.”
There’s more criticism of the Gardai in the main body of MCD report.
“It is worth noting that, during the pre-event briefings held at noon each day of the concerts and attended by relevant parties including Senior Members of An Garda Siochana, Sword Secuity, Eventsec, Event
Controller, Deputy Event Controller, Head of Security, Site & Bar Managers, MCD Live Events Manager, Safety Officers among others, a number of individuals present recall Gardai stating they had given a indication, that arrests were to be avoided and used only as a last resort when all other options have failed,” it reads. “Widespread reports have indicated that many young people had congregated early on the day of the concert to avail of the sunshine, traveling into the City Centre and the vicinity of the Phoenix Park
and surrounding areas where alcohol was being openly consumed; drugs were being freely distributed and indeed taken. Indeed, such activity was even taking place on the public area located in front of the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street.
“One of the consequences of the policing policy implemented by An Garda Siochana on the day of the
(Swedish House Mafia) concert, was the serious incidents of anti-social behaviour witnessed both in the vicinity of the Phoenix Park, and further afield.That stated Gardai and Security should be praised for catching one particular individual, known to Gardai, who was arrested at the event and has appeared before the Courts charged with offences arising from his involvement in incidents of anti-social behaviour.”
The report rejects outright that the Gardai only found out late in the day that one of the gigs would be of a dance-oriented nature.
“No evidence to suggest the Concert Site was unsuitable and Gardai were aware from February 2012 of the identity of the headline act for the concert on the 7th July 2012 and at no stage objected to either the Licence Application for the event itself, or the Liquor Licence application to operate the bars at such event. Indeed, the Gardai in a letter to Dublin City Council approved the actual concert site and furthermore, discussed at length during many pre-event planning meetings extra measures to be taken in light of the nature of the lineup for the 7th July 2012 concert.”
As for the role alcohol played in the Swedish House Mafia disturbances, the report says: “Whilst there is indeed a culture of ‘excessive’ alcohol consumption in Ireland, there are certainly sufficient and adequate laws currently in place in order to deal with related anti-social behaviour. However, it appeared Gardai failed to properly implement such laws both within the vicinity of Phoenix Park and further afield on the day of the concert.”
In response to Garda response to the Event Control Room not being fit for purpose, the report adds: “In the course of the pre-planning meetings with the Gardai, at no stage did they indicate the number of Gardai personnel to be accommodated within the Event Control Room nor did they suggest any internal layout or any other detail of the size/type of event control facility they felt appropriate or required, in advance of the event. Therefore, in compliance with best practice, as per the Event Management Plan for the Event, a fully-equipped and functioning Event Control Room was provided by the Promoter and managed by the Event Controller. This facility was jointly operated by An Garda Siochana (Senior Officers) along with representatives from other relevant Statutory Agencies.
“The Event Control Room, throughout the duration of the concert on the 7th July 2012, was fully equipped and serviced and operated as a fully functioning and effective control room at all times over the duration of the event. At no stage during the event on the 7th inst. were any queries, complaints or concerns raised regarding the suitability of the Event Control Room nor were any requests made for additional items or facilities by any party.
“The same Event Control Room had been used only two days previously, for concert on the 5th July and, again, at no stage were any queries, complaints or concerns raised regarding the suitability of the Event Control Room. However, on the 5th July the Gardai did request that
an additional table/seats be provided for their use but, as they made such request during the live event, the items were subsequently made available in advance of the concert on the 7th July 2012.
“In relation to the CCTV facilities provided by the Promoter, at no stage during the event were the Gardai either refused access to, or obstructed in using any such equipment. At no stage did the Gardai state they intended to do so, or make a request to directly operate such CCTV cameras, nor did the Gardai raise any concerns, or make any complaints regarding the suitability or otherwise of the said CCTV facility as provided by the Promoter. Indeed, had the Gardai done so, the matter would have been dealt with immediately to their satisfaction.”