Process for applying for an Event Licence

The Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 require Event Organisers (Promoters) who intend on staging a ‘large’ event to follow the following steps when applying for an event licence:

1.    Place a public notification in one local and one national newspaper – this must be done no more than two weeks before the submission of an application to the Local Authority.
2.    Submit the application to the relevant Planning Department in the Local Authority – applications must be submitted at least 10 weeks prior to the date of the event.
3.    The application must be accompanied by the following:
a.       An actual copy of each public notification.
b.       Written consent from the Landowner (if the event is not taking place on public property).
c.       Draft Management Plan which must be prepared in accordance with the appropriate codes of practice.
d.      Statutory €2,500 fee.

Why should you apply for a licence?

If you believe that your event attendance is going to exceed 5,000 attendees (at any one time) you should absolutely apply for an Event Licence.  It has been common practice for Event Organisers (Promoters) to avoid applying for a licence by stating that they are expecting an audience of under 4,999 at any one time – this can lead to dire repercussions.  In the case that there is an incident at your event and it is proven afterwards that there were 5,000+ attendees on site at the time it can affect your insurance policy and the Event Organiser (Promoter) could be found to be negligent.

When should you apply for a licence?

While the regulations state that you should apply for an event licence a minimum of 16 weeks in advance of the event some local authorities e.g. Dublin CIty Council will accept applications up to 12 weeks in advance of the event.  You can, of course, apply for the licence well in advance of 16 weeks for larger events that will require a longer consultation process.  This is particularly applicable if it is a large scale public event taking place in a public space.

What are the costs?

The standard costs are as follows:

  • You will have to pay an Event Licence application fee of €2,500 (as stated above) to the relevant local authority.
  • You will have to place an advertisement in the planning sections of both a national and a local newspaper – €2,200 (approx).
  • You will most likely need to employ a Fire Safety Consultant along with an Event Controller, Safety Officer, Medical Officer and, possibly some additional personnel depending on the event requirements.

Any additional costs will depend on the size and type of event.  It is advised that Event Organisers arrange meetings with all the relevant stakeholders no later than 6 months prior to the event. When Event Organisers are preparing event budgets they have to consider the potential costs that will be associated with requests from the relevant stakeholders. For example, an Event Organiser / Controller may believe that a certain amount of toilets are sufficient while a representative from the Health Service Executive may request additional facilities. Similarly, An Garda Síochána may request more crowd control barriers, security personnel etc.

If Event Organisers have not taken potential additional costs into consideration they may overrun their budget. This poses particular risks for amateur Event Organisers as they may not be familiar with all the public safety requirements for their event in advance of the application process.  They may also not be aware of the time and resources that are required by their event management team in order to comply with Statutory Agency and Prescribed Bodies’ requests. As such, Event Organisers should initiate a series of pre-planning, pre-event, and post event meetings between the relevant stakeholders and the Event Organiser’s key personnel from the event management team (e.g. Event Controller and Safety Officer). Each of the Statutory Agencies and Prescribed Bodies has a public safety remit with regard to events and have a particular interest in the provision of certain services (e.g. public welfare facilities).

Elaine O'Connor

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