Latest Laois News: Every Laois County Councillor opposed to staging of Electric Picnic in 2021
Every councillor opposed to Electric Picnic going ahead in 2021
All nineteen Laois County Council (LCC) councillors voiced their opposition to the granting of a license to allow the staging of Electric Picnic in 2021 at today’s (26/7/21) July Monthly meeting of LCC. It is a very rare occasion to find such total unanimity in the council chamber.
Stradbally-based Councillor Paschal McEvoy was strident in his opposition to Ireland’s biggest multi-day festival going ahead in 2021. He spoke passionately in support of the following notice of motion:
Notice of Motion No: 39/2021 – Councillor Paschal McEvoy “That this Council call on NPHET to issue an urgent recommendation to Government in relation to the planning and hosting of festivals and events attracting large numbers of people”
“Festival Republic are ploughing ahead as if it (Electric Picnic ’21) was going to happen. Absolutely crazy. Madness. In eight weeks’ time to allow 70,000 into a field. Madness. The mental health (of local residents) is affected. (They are) absolutely petrified. (I call) to send a letter to NPHET to make a decision quick. Eight weeks out and the timing is wrong. I look for the support of the councillors (on this motion).
Councillor Padraig Fleming fully supported Cllr. McEvoy’s call.
“Basically everyone’s very worried about it. A letter to NPHET is correct. Only fifty are allowed into weddings. To allow 70,000 into a few fields shouldn’t happen.
Councillor Aisling Moran had this to say on the subject:
“I enjoy going to festivals and concerts. But look here. We have only one hour and fifty minutes allowed for this (face-to-face) LCC meeting. The Electric picnic has only a small part (of it) outdoors. We don’t have to go to NPHET. I ask the LCC CEO to take on board the councillors’ concerns.”
Councillor John King mentioned other smaller Laois shows and festivals in his support for Cllr. McEvoy’s motion.
“All shows (in Laois) for example the Scarecrow Festival are not going ahead. Why are big events going ahead? This must stop today!”
Councillor Ben Brennan used the example of the Ploughing Championships and Croke Park.
“The ‘Ploughing’ is off. Croke Park holds 82,000 and is only allowed 18,000. People there (in Stradbally) are afraid of their living lives. Should be a done deal. 100 % support that it should be cancelled. National and World Ploughing Championships are off. For the sake of one year (Electric Picnic should be off too.)”
Councillor Caroline Dwane Stanley was equally adamant in her opposition to the staging of the festival this year.
“It’s crazy if this event goes ahead. It will attract people from all over. Local people’s feelings should be taken into consideration. People can’t go ahead with weddings. Common sense has to prevail.”
Councillor James Kelly called on Laois County Council to ask NPHET to issue a recommendation.
Councillor Willie Aird’s focus was on Laois County Council and not NPHET however.
“Laois County Council (LCC) makes the decision. I am asking if LCC is making a recommendation that it is going ahead.
LCC CEO John Mulholland pointed out the position of Laois County Council in all this as follows:
“The LCC has a legal and statutory obligation. A live licence application has to take on board submissions. It is proper to reflect on (public opinion) when LCC will be making the decision to grant the application (or not). The key consideration is that LCC will let it go through the statutory process in accordance with the law. We (LCC) must do our job in accordance with the law.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Cllr. Conor Bergin finished the debate by pointing out that no-one here ( in the chamber) wanted LCC to leave itself open to litigation.