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'Nothing has changed': Laois County Council says it can't revisit Electric Picnic decision

The council decided not to grant a licence to the festival earlier this month.

Image: Sam Boal

Updated Aug 25th 2021, 3:32 PM

THERE IS “NO provision in law” to revisit the refusal of a licence for Electric Picnic to take place next month, Laois County Council has said. 

In a statement, the council said “nothing has changed” in terms of advice from the HSE or government policy measures about outdoor events.

It said that “notwithstanding the comments emanating from yesterday’s press briefing from NPHET”, the situation remains the same. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the National Public Health Emergency Team would not be opposed from a public health perspective to large events 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.

However, the council said there is “no provision in law” which enables it to revisit its original refusal of the licence or reconsider the original application. 

“The Planning Authority, Laois County Council, further notes that even if a new application for an event licence is made, the statutory timelines do not allow for the  processing of a new application to facilitate the event on the dates as intended in the application previously submitted,” it added. 

Electric Picnic promoters said they needed an answer by the end of today from the council after they reapplied for a licence to hold the event next month.

Speaking this afternoon on RTÉ’s News at One programme, Caroline Downey from MCD productions said they had reapplied for a licence but needed an answer by the end of the day in order to ensure the festival could go ahead.

She said without a response it would be likely that the organisation of the festival would have to go under review by the organisers, said Downey.

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

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

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“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.”

Speaking about the construction of the stage and facilities required from Electric Picnic Downey said: “We should have started last week, so the build will be starting this week but we would need to start as soon as possible and work morning, noon and night to get it up and done.” 

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

With reporting from Hayley Halpin and Orla Dwyer

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