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Sinn Féin publish bill to exempt local events and festivals from having to pay for policing – Mac Lochlainn

14 July, 2015 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin TD and Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has today published a bill to exempt local community groups and festival organisations from having to pay the costs of An Garda Síochána for the policing of such events.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“It is not acceptable that local community, voluntary and charity groups are expected to foot the bill for policing services at events and festivals. These groups are made up of committed and hardworking volunteers who plan and organise events and festivals to benefit local communities and businesses. Such groups often have to fundraise to make such events happen and to require them to pay for the work of the Gardaí on top of this is unfair.”

“Charity events, community fairs and annual parish festivals are the lifeblood of rural communities. Such events encourage tourism and contribute to community spirit.”

“To demand organising committees to pay for policing doesn’t make sense.  In my own county of Donegal, I have been informed that the thousands of euro demanded of one festival organising committee far exceeds the grants given to the festival by Donegal County Council and Fáilte Ireland. In essence, it’s one arm of the State paying for the services of another arm of the State and all the while local communities are burdened with the cost.”

“There is no doubt that organisations that organise large scale commercial concerts and events, that generate large revenue and profits, should cover the cost of policing such events. “

“However, in terms of local community events, festivals and charity events, Section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 that allows for requesting such payments, must be amended to protect our local groups and encourage local tourism.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn concluded:

“The Bill being moved here today does exactly that. It amends Section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to exempt local cultural and heritage festivals, fundraising events for registered charities, local events organised on a voluntary basis and events that reinvest al profits for the benefit of the local community from paying for policing service.” 

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