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OPW minister criticises 'reckless behaviour' at 'fragile' St Stephen's Green bandstand

Crowds gained access to the fenced off bandstand in the Dublin park yesterday.

The St Stephen's Green bandstand pictured yesterday before the barriers were removed by people in the park.
The St Stephen's Green bandstand pictured yesterday before the barriers were removed by people in the park.
Image: Rollingnews.ie

THE MINISTER OF STATE with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) has called for people to “respect” St Stephen’s Green after “reckless behaviour” was witnessed at the bandstand in the park yesterday. 

Fencing was placed around the bandstand earlier this week. This fencing was removed by people in the park yesterday and a crowd of young people were seen inside the structure.

In a statement, Patrick O’Donovan said people are “understandably eager to enjoy the outdoors now that brighter days have arrived”. 

“However, this is no excuse for damaging historic structures and displaying reckless behaviour as we have witnessed yesterday and in the past days at the bandstand in St Stephen’s Green,” he said. 

“Covid-19 is still circulating in the community and to protect the progress we have made, basic health measures still apply outdoors, including avoiding crowds and keeping your distance.”

He appealed to people to “respect” the park, be mindful of other visitors and respect OPW staff. 

The bandstand was constructed in 1887, a statement from the OPW said. 

“It is almost 150 years old and fragile, and, ordinarily, it would not have been accessible to the park’s visitors,” it said.

This had not caused issues previously, as the public respected the small gate at the bandstand and its specific purpose for music performances and readings organised in summer time.

The OPW said the bandstand has become a place where groups were crowding in “oblivious to public health guidelines and social distancing” over the past week. 

People were “posing a risk to themselves and others by climbing the slender steel supports that hold the bandstand’s roof”, the OPW added.

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St Stephen’s Green closed an hour early yesterday after large crowds gathered in the park.  

Video footage shared on Twitter showed two young people pulling down fencing erected around the bandstand before a crowd of people entered. 

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