Tuesday, 15 April 2003
Licensing of Indoor Events Bill 2001: Second Stage.
James Bannon (Fine Gael)
I welcome the Minister of State and look forward to visiting his beautiful county of Donegal next weekend for the 20th annual Local Authority Members' Association conference.
I strongly support this Bill, which has finally reached the Seanad following its introduction to the Dáil in 2001. This legislation is of the utmost importance, particularly in regard to the safety of young people who urgently need protection from the cowboys of the leisure industry. I refer to those who seek to exploit them for profit and gain, without due regard to their basic safety and protection.
Current arrangements for indoor events are woefully inadequate to deal with public safety and crowd management. The Bill introduces a new licensing system for events such as rock or pop concerts and is primarily based on the recommendations of the Hamilton committee on crowd control. It will require promoters and organisers to demonstrate to fire authorities that they can safely run the event. If properly enforced, this should go a long way to safeguard those at concert or disco venues.