Council and media urged not to be festival party poopers

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely

THE Council were asked this week to look at minimising costs for festival and event organisers in Limerick when it comes to road closures.

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely had a motion on last Monday’s agenda of the Metropolitan District meeting on the matter. She pointed out that council members had attended a workshop on road closures the previous week which she considered “long overdue and very necessary”.

“Lots of interesting information was delivered in a clear and concise way, however I would like to see this introduced as a guideline document for any person or group who may require a road closure.

“As part of the application process it would be helpful for those people to have the information we received. This is where this motion was born,” the City East representative told the council executive.

The cost for road closures, she explained, falls anywhere between €800 to €1,600.

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“I was informed that this was just for advertising, no administration charge, and no man hours for processing.

“The roads section of this local authority apply for road closures for resurfacing and other works over the year. My ask is that we work together with the festival and events office and the applicants who receive grants to try to absorb some of the cost to groups who put on festivals, often for free, in our city.

“Now more than ever we need to support our rate payers in the city, by adding some of the proposed events to road closures we will surely see a saving to the voluntary organisations who give their time to bring life to the city.”

Cllr Kiely singled out the Halloween festival, which takes place over the October Bank Holiday Weekend, for praise.

“Pictures from this event hit the front pages of national press with Brian Arthur’s photos being widely shared on social media too. If this was to be measured, the value the city receives would far outweigh the cost of road closures to this council. We need to look beyond just cost,” she insisted.

The Fine Gael woman also claimed the local media need to step up.

“Covering the stories is great, however your advertising departments can do better. Give consideration to these organisations who have to pay the cost of the ad for road closures and keep that in mind when you are issuing an invoice to volunteers who animate our city for the good of everyone.

“The proposal is now that the council advertises the list of events quarterly with road closures and try to absorb where possible the cost to festival and events.”

In response, Eugene Crimmins of the Council’s Tourism Festival and Events Office said they will liaise with the Roads Department regarding road closures to examine how costs to the applicant can be minimised.

“At present only the cost of the advertisement of road closure notices is charged to applicants,” he said.