Laois County Councillor Paschal McEvoy has welcomed the Council’s decision not to grant a licence for this year’s Electric Picnic.
In a statement released yesterday, Laois County Council refused to grant the licence citing public health advice.
Speaking to LaoisToday, Cllr McEvoy, who lives in Stradbally, acknowledged that some people would not be happy – but said he had to listen to the concerns of his constituents.
He said: “Everyone is not going to be happy about this decision of course, but we have to think about people in Stradbally.
“The issue that I have always had about this from the very start is the timing.
“Not too long ago, Stradbally lost 20 people to Covid-19 in our nursing home and the impact of that will be felt here forever.
“We love Electric Picnic and have enjoyed it over the last 14 years but we were opposed to having it this year. We will gladly welcome it back next year.
“This is about people, not about money. It has always been about that and we couldn’t justify sending 70,000 people to the town.
“There is a misconception that it was just older people in Stradbally who didn’t want this. I had people of all ages contacting me who were against it.
“There is great progress being made with the vaccination programme but I believe we need some time between everyone being fully vaccinated and seeing how that reacts before we run an event of this scale.
“We will probably need booster injections and they are talking about doing that already.
“But I just think 70,000 people going to a four day festival at the tail end of the vaccination programme is not fair or doable.
“In fairness to Laois County Council, they made the decision and now at least the people in Stradbally who have been so tormented by this over the last few months have an answer.”
Meanwhile, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Conor Bergin, told Virgin Media News that the Council sought the advice of the HSE before reaching their decision.
He said: “We have had the Electric Picnic in Laois for the last 14 years and we love having it.
“I love going to it and I’m sure it will be disappointing for thousands of music fans across the country.
“Also for the live music industry which has been badly effected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, in making this decision, Laois County Council did seek advice from the HSE and their advice was clear and unambiguous.”