Protesters back buskers, but call for ban on amps
Protesters will gather at Dublin City Hall tonight to voice their anger at the capital's first ever busking by-laws because they do not include a ban on street performers using amplification.
All 63 Dublin city councillors will vote this evening on whether to bring the by-laws into force against a background of massive opposition to the regulations, which allow for buskers to use amplifiers up to a level of 80 decibels.
The protesters will include residents from the 2,200-strong community in Temple Bar as well as business owners and workers from the Grafton Street, Henry Street and O'Connell Street areas.
While they are not opposed to busking, they want amplifiers banned from the city's streets.
"A lot of people are going to come out - residents from Temple Bar, workers in the city and business owners," said councillor Mannix Flynn.
The Independent representative said he has received hundreds of phone calls and emails over the past two weeks appealing for a ban on amplification in the street.
A number of staff from An Post's headquarters in the GPO have also been lobbying councillors to ban buskers from using amplifiers.
One employee said he has to ring the gardai regularly because of the disruption some buskers are causing.
"Over the past 12 months I've phoned the guards at Store Street at least 50 to 60 times. It was almost a daily occurrence during the summer months," read an email complaining about the noise.
"In fairness to An Garda Siochana they always try to get down and move the buskers along, but this is a pain for them and for me having to ring them and ask for their help, distracting them from proper law enforcement."
Despite repeated complaints from staff, a spokesman for An Post told the Herald the company was happy for the by-laws to be passed as they are tonight.
"We're happy to allow the current set of regulations to bed-in and will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis," the spokesman stated.
He added that the company was "relatively satisfied with the outcome" of the public consultation process for the regulation of street performance, where 88 submissions were made.
Even though the majority of these were about excessive noise, Dublin City Council did not include an outright ban of amplification in the draft by-laws.
The Provost of Trinity College has also appealed to councillors to approve a ban on amplification.
"I have been informed that some students have been kept awake until after 4am due to loud music, as indeed my family and I have been on many occasions," said Provost Patrick Prendergast.
"I therefore do not agree with the assertion in Mr Brendan Kenny's (DCC assistant CEO) recent report on the matter that limiting the use of amplifiers to 80 decibels as being 'a reasonably balanced option'."