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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Rock On

Malahide Castle gigs get drinks licence despite locals’ objections

Depeche Mode, Paolo Nutini, Blur, Sam Fender, Florence and The Machine, Sting and Hozier will perform there next month.

A JUDGE HAS rejected residents’ latest attempt to block a liquor licence to serve alcoholic drinks at next month’s concerts at Dublin’s Malahide Castle.

Depeche Mode, Paolo Nutini, Blur, Sam Fender, Florence and The Machine, Sting and Hozier will headline over seven nights from 14-30 June.

The rock gigs are expected to attract up to 20,000 revellers on each date.

Promoters MCD had to apply to Judge Marie Quirke at Dublin District Court for an occasional licence to serve alcohol at the venue.

However, neighbours Mary Lynch and Nicola Byrne from Old Street and Majella Dunne, New Street, Malahide, jointly lodged objections.

Last year Byrne and Dunne took a similar course. However, Judge Quirke then ruled that the event could get a liquor licence but four extra gardaí had to patrol New Street and Old Street from 10.30pm until 2am for the seven concert nights.

In the objectors’ latest challenge, the residents contended there was one night of effective policing of street drinking last year.

They also aired various grievances about pedestrianisation, pub outdoor seating, crowds drinking on the streets, extra drinkers congregating at outdoor seating areas, as well as sex and urination in public in the village.

The outdoor seating was allowed by Fingal County Council with the condition that people must not be standing around and the seats had to be put away at around 9pm or 10pm.

The three women and two local businessmen today addressed the court, maintaining existing problems worsened during the run of concerts at the castle about a kilometre away.

Lynch, 81, recalled a concert-goer flopping around and taking cocaine near her home; she said it made her afraid and it was dangerous to go out.

The promoter’s legal team, solicitor Ursula Courtney and barrister Dorothy Collins, responded that refusal of a drinks licence for the event would lead to more concert-goers going to the pubs in the village.

Judge Quirke heard MCD was paying a “substantial” amount toward the Garda policing of the concerts. She said she was impressed by the promoters professional standards.

Granting the licence, she said that was the subject to the same extra measures ordered last year. She also stressed that gardaí must enforce public drinking by-laws and liaise with the council to the best of their ability.

She also stressed that Fingal County Councik must enforce compliance with terms of the street furniture licences, and the local garda station telephone line must be manned 24 hours a day to deal with queries from the public.

Coolock Garda Inspector Oliver Woods rejected criticism of the garda approach and made no objection to the licence. He said there had been no problems in the running of the events previously.

About arrests in Malahide during the concerts last year, he said Swords and Howth experienced the same amount; gardaí were doing their best but a “zero-tolerance approach” was unrealistic.

Most concert goers would leave by Dart trains and various bus services. The court heard promoters engaged in a public consultation process advertised in the Irish Independent and the Northside People newspapers.

A Fingal County Council planner said the council allowed the concerts with 28 conditions and drinks would not be served in the venue after 10pm.

The council’s director of operations Mary Daly told the court that outdoor seating had to be removed at night and that was enforced.

She also said the council liaised with locals and last year’s concerts attended by 175,000 people led to just two complaints from the public.

The pedestrianisation of streets in Malahide is already the subject of a High Court challenge.

The three residents also have a license objection pending before the district court concerning outdoor serving at three local pubs.

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