New proposed by-laws no longer bad news for street performers

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The proposed by-laws that would see buskers banned from the heart of the city centre and tourist hotspot Temple Bar, and only permit them to perform on Grafton Street under strict guidelines, have been overruled by Dublin City Council. 

According to Dublin City Council (DCC), busking provides a “public amenity that enhances the character of the city and adds to its attractiveness.”

The DCC were forced to re-consider the rules and regulations governing street performers and their activities after numerous complaints were made in recent times to DCC, An Garda Síochána and other representative bodies.

Concerned individuals have brought forward complaints relating to loud noise, the obstruction of premises, late night busking disrupting residents and the pressure placed on some individuals to make some sort of donation.

Bearing this in mind, a revised version of the Draft Street Performance By-Laws was put together and presented by the Arts Strategic Policy Committee on October 13 for consideration by DCC.

The by-laws set out strict protocol including the banning of knives, flames, swords and axes in any performance.

They also stated that a permit must be obtained by the DCC for an individual to perform in a public place, with prohibited sites including anywhere outside the GPO on O’Connell Street and the entire radius of Temple Bar.

If the by-laws came into effect, an individual had to apply for a permit, and if granted, pay the fee and provide identification and photographic evidence of oneself.

The permit would be granted for one year and included a fee of €30.00 per annum and €60.00 per annum for those with amplification.

Under the proposed by-laws the performer had to display the permit throughout his/her entire performance and could only perform for a maximum of two hours.

A busker could not perform twice within the space of 24 hours in the same area and had to relocate to a location not within 250 metres of his/her previous performance.

With busking in Temple Bar prohibited, Grafton Street would prove to be the spot, however, time restrictions would be implemented with a curfew for performers.

Buskers would not be allowed to perform before 9am or after 11pm with the exceptions of Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The City spoke to Irish musician and Carlow man Shane Hennessy, who commented:

“As soon as you kill off the music on the street, you kill off what is really unique about Dublin.

“Every single day tourists and visitors say to me “Wow, there is a huge amount of music in Ireland, it’s great to see so much music on the streets”, and it is true. Many of Ireland’s best started out singing on side streets and alleys. Imagine the case for musicians down on their luck or looking to make some money, who have to pay to play on the street?

“These proposed regulations might eliminate the problem of chancer buskers, but it absolutely destroys the situation for every good busker out there. How many times have you seen huge crowds on Grafton Street or in Temple Bar genuinely loving what they’re watching?

“I really hope these measures don’t go through. I wouldn’t have thought so before but knowing what the City Council has been like the last few months, it wouldn’t surprise me,” he said.

In early November DCC voted in favour of removing the proposal after large protests by musicians and individuals which has allowed for no changes to be made.

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