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Laois County Council release statement following calls to reverse Electric Picnic refusal decision

Enjoying Electric Picnic. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Laois County Council have released a statement following calls for them to reverse their decision to refuse a licence for the 2021 Electric Picnic festival.

In a statement, Laois County Council says they will not be changing their decision.

They said: “A decision by Laois County Council to refuse the application for an event licence for the Electric Picnic 2021, issued on August 4, pursuant of Section 231(3)(a) and (b) of the Planning and Development Act, as amended. The decision was based on the following reasons:

“1) Having regard to the up to date advice from the HSE in their statutory submission.

“2) Having regard to Government Public Health measures currently in place and made pursuant to the health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and the Health and Criminal Justice (Covid-19) (amendment) Act 2021.

“There is no provision in law which enables Laois County council to revisit that refusal or reconsider that application.

“Not withstanding the comments emanating from yesterday’s press briefing from NPHET, nothing has changed as regards advice from the HSE, nor has there been any change to the government Public Health Measures in place in respect of hosting of outdoor events, from the position that pertained on the August 4.

“The Planning Authority, Laois County Council, further notes that even if a new application for an event licence is made, the statutory timelines do not allow for the processing of a new application to facilitate the event on the dates as intended in the application previously submitted.”

The statement comes after EP Promoter Melvin Benn reacted to comments made by Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan at yesterday’s NPHET briefing.

Dr Holohan said he would not have a concern if concerts were to go ahead with vaccinated people attending.

When asked if concerts could go ahead just for vaccinated people, Dr Holohan said: “We wouldn’t have a concern from a public health point of view if everyone is vaccinated.”

In response, Melvin Benn called on Laois County Council to reverse their decision.

He said: “It’s hard for me to believe what I just read but I want to.

“We are asking Laois County Council to immediately reverse the decision it took to refuse the licence and grant it immediately in line with the CMO’s conditions: that everyone attending should be vaccinated, exactly as we said a month ago.

“What a springboard to the future this could be. Change the decision Laois County Council and let’s have the Picnic.

“Tell us tomorrow and we are on our way.”

With the festival set to take place in less than a month, this is probably the final nail in the coffin.

SEE ALSO – 16 Laois pharmacies sign up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to those aged 12 and over

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.