Promoter defends security at concert in Phoenix Park

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THE PROMOTER of Saturday night’s concert in the Phoenix Park, which was marred by violence and drunkenness, has strongly defended the security arrangements put in place for it.

Ahead of a meeting with gardaí today to review the Swedish House Mafia concert, Denis Desmond, of promoters MCD, said he was “100 per cent” satisfied with the level of security provided. There were a number of stabbings at the concert and widespread reports of fighting, drug-taking and drunkenness both inside and outside the concert grounds.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he shared the “widespread public concern” over what had happened on Saturday night and had asked for a report from the Garda Commissioner to see what lessons could be learned.

One man fell ill at the concert and was taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, where he died. He was named yesterday as Lee Scanlon (20), from Sorrel Heath, Clonsilla, Dublin. Another concert-goer who fell ill later in a friend’s house and also died has been named as Shane Brophy (21), of Crettyard, Co Laois. Postmortem results are awaited.

More than 40 people were treated in two Dublin hospital emergency departments after the concert.

The Health Service Executive said six were treated for stab wounds and two of them remained in hospital last night.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes, whose office is in charge of the Phoenix Park, said he had asked for reports from both MCD and the Garda about what happened.

Mr Desmond said MCD provided in excess of 50 per cent more personnel, between security and gardaí, than was laid down in the licensing terms for the series of three concerts.

Dublin City Council stipulated a minimum of 364 security personnel for each concert. Mr Desmond said MCD provided 511 security personnel and 145 gardaí within the arena.

Callers to RTÉ’s Liveline radio programme yesterday recounted seeing thousands of teenagers drinking on the streets on the way to the concert.

Paul McQuaid, who runs a bike hire shop in the park, said he had never seen so many underage drinkers in his life. “This was not one of the tiny minorities who ruin it for everybody – the majority of people I saw were totally off their heads.”

Asked whether he would go ahead this summer with the David Guetta concert in Marlay Park, which will attract a dance-oriented crowd similar to that attracted by Swedish House Mafia, and with Oxegen, due to run again next year, Mr Desmond said: “Yes absolutely. You cannot be held to ransom by thugs.”