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Liam Gallagher gig at Dublin's Weston Airport under threat as locals take organisers to court

The former Oasis frontman is due to play the Samhain Festival at the end of this month.

Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Images

LOCALS HAVE TAKEN the organisers of an upcoming festival in Weston Airport, that features Liam Gallagher, to court to try to block it happening because of their concerns surrounding the event.

The former Oasis frontman is headlining a lineup that also includes The Strypes and Touts on the final day of the Samhain Festival on Sunday 29 October. Another lineup featuring 2ManyDJs and Annie Mac will take place the day before.

The first edition of this music festival is due to take place in a hangar at the airport, which is located in Lucan, west Dublin.

The case came before the courts yesterday.

Locals have a number of concerns related to the noise levels, the repurposing of the hangar as a concert venue and also the sheer number of people who’ll be coming to the area.

weston airport Locals live in the estates to the top right of the screen while the airport is on the left. Source: Google Maps

Caitriona McCLean, a resident of Weston Avenue and a local Fianna Fáil activist, outlined to TheJournal.ie how the gigs would affect local residents.

She said: “Locals have voiced their concerns regarding noise levels, traffic levels, inaccessible estates for the hours preceding and in the aftermath of the advertised concerts, [and] poor track record in traffic management of daytime events at the same address.”

McClean also said that it was feared that the events such as this kind could become a regular occurrence.

The event website describes Samhain Festival 2017 as a “massive fancy-dress Halloween celebration in a brand new location”.

It said: “Now held in a 4,000m sq hangar in Weston Airport, [it is] the first time this unique space has been used for a concert.”

McClean said: “There is also a concern if these events go ahead they will constitute the start of major change in the nature of the residential area situated in a rural planning zone.

The proposed events do not serve the area but will bring in thousands for events that are not in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood. The concerts do not serve the needs of local residents, some of whom are in advanced years and fear their peaceful lives are to be disrupted on a regular basis to meet the commercial appetite of others.

Another local said a traffic bottleneck will be created due to how narrow the road gets after the N4 turnoff when 5,000 music fans descend on the area.

n4 turn off The road immediately after the motorway turnoff, with housing estates on the left and the airport obscured on the right. Source: Google Maps

He said: “It becomes country road straight away. Having that many people arrive at once is going to mean we can’t go anywhere.”

Locals said traffic can usually be heavy in the area anyway, and McClean said it would disrupt the locals’ plans for the bank holiday weekend.

She said: “Local families would like to have free movement in and out of their estates during the Halloween weekend and to be in a position to allow their children carry out their normal house-to-house visits without fear of meeting strangers in the darkness who have come in the guise of concert-goers.

Why should local residents have to curtail their normal celebrations of a well-established family tradition because of concerts that are not in keeping with the needs or wants of local communities.

McClean said that she is due to attend a wedding in the nearby Springfield Hotel, outside Leixlip, that weekend, but could face traffic gridlock in what would normally be a five-minute drive.

It is understood that the festival does not need to apply for an event licence, as it does not fall under the legislative guidelines.

Under the Planning and Development (Licensing of Outdoor Events) Regulations, 2001, “an event at which the audience comprises 5,000 or more people shall be an event prescribed for the purposes of section 230 of the Act”.

It is believed that local gardaí have told residents that just under 5,000 tickets have been sold for the event.

McClean is concerned, however, that the venue does not comply with fire safety regulations, due to the presence of fuel on site and because the hangar has not been used as a concert venue with such large footfall before.

A spokesperson for Weston Airport told TheJournal.ie that the venue was approached by event promoters to hold the event. While it does not need a licence, they said “the event is being run as if it was a licensed event”.

They said: “Weston Airport facilitated and took part in meetings with the event promoter, local Gardaí, local residents and others. The upcoming event was discussed and the concerns of the residents were heard. The vast majority of the local residents concerns were allayed once they found out that a traffic management plan as well as a plan for access for local concert attendees accessing the event from surrounding areas such as Lucan and Leixlip.

All traffic for the event will enter from R403  Celbridge Road into the venue thus avoiding Cooldrinagh Lane where the local residents live. A traffic management system involving both the gardaí and the event promoter will ensure that there should be no disruption to local traffic. Furthermore the event promoter are providing a bus shuttle service from Dublin city centre and local train stations for concert attendees. There are also contingency plans to provide onsite parking for any concert attendees arriving by private cars.

“The Gardaí will be on duty in the locality and at the venue along with event security to deal with any anti social behaviour should it arise as they would with any concert event.”

In a comment to TheJournal.ie, Ange Goliger from organisers Festival Republic said: “As with all of our events we welcome observations and feedback from all stakeholders and these form an essential part of the planning process for the event.”

After a brief hearing, the case was adjourned will come back before the courts next Wednesday, just 10 days before the festival begins. A fire officer is due to appear in court to give their assessment on the fire safety plan in place at this time.

Speaking yesterday, the judge implored both parties to get together to try to seek a resolution before the next court date.

Comments have been closed as this case is before the courts.

Read: Garth Brooks isn’t coming to Dublin and he’s not happy he’s being ‘used for publicity for a play’

Read: Hotel apologises for saying Garth Brooks gigs were on, tells angry fans to “get a life”

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