02. Legislation – Open Air Pop Concerts
September 25, 2014
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Music and Singing Licence

2.1   If the premises being used for a concert are ordinarily used for public music and singing a licence is required in certain urban areas in which Part IV of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1890 1  has been adopted by the Urban Authority. Section 51 of the Act, as restricted by the Public Dance Halls Act, 1935 2 (Section 14) and as amended by the Courts (Supplementary Provisions) Act, 1961 3, (Section 33), provides that any house, room, garden or other place, whether licensed or not for the sale of intoxicating liquor, shall not be kept or used for public dancing, singing, music or other public entertainment of the like kind without a licence granted for that purpose by a District Court Judge. Promoters should consult with the relevant local Authority for information as to whether or not Part IV of the Act has been adopted locally.

In the case of a new licence 14 days notice must be given to the Court Clerk and local Garda Superintendent. Only 48 hours notice to the Court Clerk is required for a renewal of a licence and for a temporary licence (not exceeding 14 days) 48 hours notice to the Court Clerk and Garda Superintendent is required. Under the Fire Services Act, 1981 4 (Section 24) an applicant for any licence is required to give one month’s notice in writing (or such shorter period of notice as the Fire Authority may in the special circumstances of the case agree to accept) of the application to the Fire Authority.

It should be pointed out that there is no licence other than a music and singing licence required for outdoor pop concerts. This licensing system only applies to venues ordinarily used for outdoor pop concerts. If not ordinarily used for this purpose a music or singing licence may not be required.

Promoters should consult with their legal advisers in order to ascertain the legal position applicable to each particular event.

Fire Services Act, 1981 4

2.2  The primary legislation governing fire safety in Ireland is the Fire Services Act, 1981. A Fire Authority can serve a fire safety notice which may prohibit the use of a building or a part of a building until specified precautions are taken to the satisfaction of the Fire Authority.

This Act places a duty on every person having control over such premises to take all reasonable steps to guard against the outbreak of fire on such premises and to ensure, as far as reasonably possible, the safety of persons on the premises in the event of fire. A person who fails to fulfill his statutory obligations in this regard is guilty of an offence for which the maximum fine is £10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both penalties at the discretion of the Court.

In addition, where the Fire Authority considers that the risk to persons in the event of fire is sufficiently serious it may apply to the High Court for an Order restricting or prohibiting the use of the land or building until specified measures have been taken to reduce the risk to a reasonable level.

Ease of Escape Regulations

2.3  Regulations made under the Fire Services Act, 1981 5 include the Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations 1985. These Regulations provide that in specified places of assembly, including a stadium, tent or marquee, certain fire safety precautions related to escape routes and exit doors should be taken by every person having control over a place of assembly and that a person in a place of assembly shall not prevent or obstruct the person in control from complying with the regulations.

Temporary Structures

2.4  Section 37 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1890 refers to the safety of platforms, etc., erected or used on public occasions. It requires that whenever large numbers of persons are likely to assemble on the occasion of any show, entertainment, public procession, open air meeting or other like occasion, every roof of a building and every platform, balcony or other structure or part thereof to be let or used for the purpose of affording sitting or standing accommodation for a number of persons shall be safely constructed or secured to the satisfaction of the Local Authority. Section 53 of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948 6 has extended the terms of Section 37 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act of 1890 to every sanitary district whether urban or rural.

The Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts, 1963-1993 7

2.5  Development consisting of the making of a material change in the use of land or the carrying out of works needs planning permission under the Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts, 1963-1993, unless the development has exempted development status under those Acts or their associated Regulations.

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 8

2.6  The fundamental aim of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 is the prevention of accidents and ill health at the place of work. The Act, which applies to all employers, employees and the self-employed, sets out general duties of care for each of these parties.

Employers are required to identify the hazards and assess the risks in the place of work, and to draw up a written safety statement setting out the arrangements in place to safeguard safety and health, along with the co-operation required from employees to achieve this.

Designers, manufacturers, suppliers and importers of articles and substances for use at work, and those who design or construct places of work also have general duties under the Act and its associated regulations.

Section 7(1) of the Act requires every employer to conduct the undertaking so as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not employed by her/him, but who may be affected by the undertaking, are not exposed to risks to their safety or health.

Civil Liability

Employers, including promoters of events will be familiar with the increased cost of public liability insurance. This has arisen as a result of awards made in the civil courts to people who have been injured.

The Courts have taken the view that it is the duty of the employer to provide a reasonably safe workplace. Traditionally, awards are made where ‘reasonable standards’ are not met. The onus or general duty is on employers to provide:-

(i) reasonably safe systems of work;

(ii) reasonably competent staff, including supervisors capable of providing adequate supervision in any given situation;

(iii) a reasonably safe place of work; and

(iv) reasonably safe plant and machinery.

The obligation to take reasonable precautions is set at the same level of responsibility by the civil courts in relation to non-employees. Non-employees may include contractors, their employees, lawful visitors (paying spectators/patrons) or even trespassers.

Sale of Food

2.8 Food Stalls require a Health Board licence or an Occasional Food Permit under the Food Hygiene (Amendment) Regulations, 1989 9; and stall holders must comply with these regulations to the satisfaction of the Health Board. Power is given to the Chief Executive Officer of a Health Board to apply to the District Court for a Closure Order prohibiting the operation of a food business from a food premises, stall or vehicle where there is grave and immediate danger to the public. Health Boards have powers under the Health Act, 1947 10; to demand names and addresses and to detain those refusing to give such names and addresses or giving false ones. Gardaí have powers under the Act to detain people for a maximum period of 24 hours at a Garda Station and to carry out the necessary inspections, by force if necessary. Gardaí must comply with a request to assist Health Board officials in carrying out this function.

Casual Trading Acts 11

2.9 The provisions of the Casual Trading Act, 1995, which repeals the Casual Trading Act, 1980, with effect from 1st May, 1996, apply to persons who carry out casual trading, i.e. selling goods at a place (including a public road) to which the public have access as of right or any other place that is a casual trading area.

Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 12

2.10 The Act provides inter alia for;

(a) the updating of the law in relation to public order offences; and

(b) the implementation of certain recommendations made by the Committee on Public Safety and Crowd Control. 13

2.11 Part III of the Act (Sections 20, 21 and 22) is along the lines of recommendations made by the aforesaid Committee in relation to giving the Gardaí power to control access to certain events and to allow for surrender and seizure of intoxicating liquor, etc. Section 20 provides for definitions for this part of the Act. Section 21 provides for the erection by Gardaí of barriers on any road, street, lane or alley not more than one mile from the venue in which an event is taking place. A Garda has power to divert persons and where possession of a ticket is required for entrance to the event, to prohibit people who have no tickets from passing the barrier. Section 22 provides the Gardaí with powers to search a person going to an event for intoxicating liquor and to seize any such liquor, disposable container or and other article which could be used to cause injury.

2.12 The Sections of the Act relating to public order offences are designed to ensure good order. The terms of the Sections have implications for the general public, the Gardaí, promoters and event controllers as well as stewards and others concerned with public safety. Under the Act, the definition of ‘public place’ includes-

(a) any highway,

(b) any outdoor area to which, at the material time, members of the public have or are permitted to have access, whether as a right or as a trespasser or otherwise, and which is used for public recreational purposes,

(c) any cemetery or churchyard,

(d) any premises or other place to which, at the material time, members of the public have, or are permitted to have access, whether as of right or by express or implied permission or whether on payment or otherwise, and

(e) any train, vessel or vehicle used for the carriage of persons for reward.

The Act should be consulted for matters relating to the preservation of public order.

Licensing

2.13 Pending a decision in this matter, it is recommended that the details set out in this Code of Practice be used in a voluntary manner by those engaged in the organisation of outdoor pop concerts. Appropriate legislation requiring pop concerts to be licensed is currently under consideration in the Department of Justice.

Litter Control

2.14 New statutory provisions to give Local Authorities additional powers to set down specific litter prevention and control requirements to be observed by the Promoters of events are currently being examined by the Department of the Environment and will be outlined in a new Litter Bill.

Legal Advice

2.15 The guidance expressed in this Chapter does not purport to amount to legal interpretation or legal advice. Promoters/Grounds Management are advised to consult their legal advisors on such matters beforehand.

References

1. Public Health Act Amendment Act, 1890, HMSO, London.
2. Public Dance Hall Act, 1935, Stationery Office, Dublin.
3. Courts (Supplementary Provisions) Act, 1961, Stationery Office, Dublin.
1. Fire Services Act, 1981, Stationery Office, Dublin. 1985, Stationery Office, Dublin.
6. Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948, Stationery Office, Dublin.
5. Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations, Stationary Office, Dublin.
7. Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts, 1963-1993, and associated Regulations, Stationery Office, Dublin.
3. Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act, 1989, Stationery Office, Dublin.
9. Food Hygiene (Amendment) Regulations, 1989, Stationery Office, Dublin.
10. Health Act, 1947, Stationery Office, Dublin.
11. Casual Trading Act, 1995, will repeal the Casual Trading Act, 1980, with effect from 1st May, 1996, Stationery Office, Dublin.
12. Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994, Stationery Office, Dublin.
13. Committee on Public Safety and Crowd Control: Report, February. 1990, Stationery Office, Dublin.

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