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Sam Boal
Outdoor Events

Electric Picnic boss calls for festival to go ahead after Holohan's comments on live events

He said NPHET wouldn’t be opposed to large events taking place with only vaccinated people in attendance.

LAST UPDATE | 24 Aug 2021

ELECTRIC PICNIC FESTIVAL promoters are calling on Laois County Council to reverse its decision to refuse a licence to hold the event this year in light of comments made by the Chief Medical Officer. 

Speaking at a press briefing at the Department of Health this afternoon, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) would not be opposed from a public health perspective to large events such as Electric Picnic taking place with only vaccinated people in attendance. 

“We wouldn’t have a concern from a public health point of view to express about an event that happened that was confined to vaccinated people,” he said.

Reacting to Holohan’s comments this evening, Electric Picnic boss Melvin Benn of Festival Republic said he is asking Laois County Council “to immediately reverse the decision it took to refuse the licence and grant it immediately in line with the CMO’s conditions”. 

“What a springboard to the future this could be. Change the decision, Laois County Council and let’s have the Picnic. Tell us tomorrow and we are on our way,” Benn said. 

Earlier this month, Laois County Council released a statement saying that the licence was not being granted for the event which traditionally takes place in Stradbally every summer.

The statement read: “Laois County Council has today made the decision to refuse a licence to hold the 2021 Electric Picnic event at Stradbally, Co Laois.

“The decision has been made following the most up-to-date public health advice made available to the Council from the HSE.

“Furthermore, it is noted that under current government measures for the management of Covid-19, events of this nature are restricted to an attendance of 500 people only.”

While a number of test events have been staged, Ireland’s live music and entertainment sector remains effectively closed down due to coronavirus regulations.

 The original dates for the festival were pushed back to the end of September in the hope that the vast majority of the population would be fully vaccinated by then.

Covid-19 rules currently limit numbers at organised outdoor events to 500 at venues with capacity in excess of 5,000.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin today met with the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Arts Catherine Martin to discuss the upcoming roadmap for the reopening of society, including the live entertainment and arts sector. 

It was agreed that a meeting with industry stakeholders will take place next Monday, attended by both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. 

This will follow the latest NPHET advice and the deliberations of a Covid-19 sub-committee this Friday, which Minister Martin will attend. 

With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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