Home News Council NPHET guidance sought by Laois County Council on Electric Picnic decision

NPHET guidance sought by Laois County Council on Electric Picnic decision

NPHET should provide an urgent recommendation to Laois County Council on whether Electric Picnic should be given a license to proceed in Stradbally at the end of September.

The issue was the subject of a motion put forward by Stradbally-based councillor Paschal McEvoy to this week’s full meeting with Council CEO John Mulholland agreeing with the fears expressed by the council despite not normally commenting on a live licence application.

The festival is currently scheduled for September 23-26, three weeks later than usual, but is subject to a licence being granted.

Currently 18,000 is the largest number of people allowed to attend an event at the moment – and that is in Croke Park.

“I normally wouldn’t respond but in this instance it’s proper to reflect that there is a greater public and national concern for public health,” he said.

There was unanimous view expressed that the Electric Picnic should not be allowed to proceed this year – though the Council will only be in a position to rule on it once due process has been followed in accordance with the law.

A decision has to be made no less than four weeks before the event, which will be the last week in August.

“I hear the concerns and actually I agree with the notice of motion because I do think the HSE through NPHET should provide a little bit more information and clarity for people to be able to recommend to us, the proper road to take.

“The HSE are still to respond to us in relation to their recommendation and that is the key consideration.

“No one should assume that there isn’t an acknowledgement of people’s state of mind in the county or locality,” he added.

“The idea of 70,000 people coming into Stradbally over four days is absolutely crazy,” said Cllr Paschal McEvoy who has been steadfast in his opposition to the festival proceeding this year for a number of months.

“I’m getting calls on a daily basis. People are terrified it’s going to happen. These are real people with real concerns.

“There was 20 deaths in our Nursing Home earlier this year and that is still very raw.

“I accept there are as many young people want this old people don’t want it – but there are many younger people who aren’t comfortable with it either.

“The timing of this is really wrong.”

Cllr Padraig Fleming also weighed in on the debate saying, “the worry and stress this is putting on people is serious”.

“We have people here in Laois County Council who make the decision,” said Cllr Aisling Moran. “The stress this is causing is unfair. Please take on board what the councillors are saying.”

“This shouldn’t even be coming up,” said Cllr Ben Brennan. “This should be decided on already. I 100% support it being cancelled.”

“It’s crazy if this goes ahead,” said Cllr PJ Kelly. “Two miles up the road and the Ploughing Championships made their decision at a huge financial cost on their behalf.

“For the sake of one year call a halt to it. Local people’s perspective has to be taken into consideration. The Ploughing had the courage to make a call at an early stage.”

Cllr James Kelly also spoke against the festival proceeding this year – but says the councillors need to be careful how they word any plea to NPHET.

“I call on the council to issue an urgent recommendation but we have to be careful. What if NPHET say it can go ahead with 17,000 and not 70,000?”

“It’s very important that it’s known that that all 19 councillors and all public representatives are totally opposed to it,” said Cllr Willie Aird.

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories