LIMERICK was alive last weekend with the sound of music.
The sun was shining and the streets were full with smiling happy faces as people enjoyed live performances on almost every available street corners in the city centre.
Spirits were so high that many took the opportunity to drop the groceries and dance Saturday afternoon away to the tuneful melodies that filled the air.
Not everyone, however, was moved by the rambunctious rhythms.
One Limerick local, Denise Houlihan, took to Twitter to express her concerns.
“The busking/musician today on Thomas Street is absolutely deafening. Why oh why do they feel it’s okay to blast people out of it? Impossible to have a conversation. Even inside shops, it’s very loud.”
Ms Houlihan asked Limerick City and County Council if there are no limits to the decibel limits in the city centre as showband legend Shaun O’Dowd from County Leitrim performed a lively set on Thomas Street.
She also took the view that if we are trying to build liveable cities, we need to ensure comfort and respect for local residents and people with sensory difficulties.
“I was ambushed by it too Denise – utterly deafening and unpleasant. Wholly concur,” added another online commenter, Cathy McGlynn.
Ms Houlihan replied that it would was “very off-putting” and would not encourage a lot of people into the city.
“Music is a fabulous addition but it could only be called noise pollution at these levels. There were more on Bedford Row and Cruises Street,” Ms Houlihan added.
One commenter took a different view, stating: “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”.
“I thought the city was buzzing today with all the free music,” another said.
Well-known Limerick musician Niall Quinn, a founding member of The Cranberries and well-loved punk popsters The Hitchers, also got embroiled in the debate.
“Need a mic? – book a venue,” he boldly tweeted.
“We’re trying to create welcoming spaces here – and music, including live performance, is all part of that. But there’s an imbalance there when, in an often dead city centre, a couple of characters with mini-rigs get to dominate a space,” Quinn continued.
In response, Limerick City and County Council pointed out that it does not have by-laws specifically relating to buskers.
“However, those involved are requested to bear in mind that in a shared urban environment, it is important to respect the rights of those who live and work in properties within earshot of any on-street activity,” a Council spokesperson told the Limerick Post.
The local authority also pointed out that the use of electronic equipment (such as amplifiers) increases the likelihood of a nuisance being perceived, a complaint being made to Limerick City and County Council, and enforcement action being instigated.
“In the event of a complaint being received about perceived nuisance, it is likely that staff from Limerick City and County Council will be deployed to investigate and make a determination on whether a public nuisance may exist.”