Call for code of conduct on busking

A city councillor is to insist that recommendations for a code of conduct on busking in the city go before the Galway City Council at its next meeting – before the busy summer period for busking begins.

This comes as the issue moves into its sixth month on the council’s agenda without being touched upon by councillors.

“It’s on the agenda at every single meeting and we just don’t seem to get to it. I’m going to insist at the next meeting we get to it because we are approaching the summer,” said Cllr Terry O’Flaherty.

In November 2014, at the request of the Environment, Recreation and Amenity Strategic Policy Committee, chaired by Cllr. O’Flaherty, a review was ordered into street performance in the city.

A public consultation process received 51 submissions from the busking community, local businesses, residents, arts groups and other members of the public.

The council had received a number of complaints in relation to busking which led to this process commencing.

Of the complaints received, some of the most common were in relation to a noise nuisance, created by drum kits and amplification, competing performers, a repetitive nature of music repertoire, the blocking of business premises, as well as the hogging of pitches and some performers soliciting donations.

Amplification is the biggest issue for Cllr O’Flaherty. She believed that the noise pollution created by such equipment is a problem, particularly at weekends and during the summer.

“We welcome busking in Galway, they are part of the fabric in the city, but it’s the amplification that is definitely the problem,” she said, adding: “Preferably, I would wish to see a complete ban on amplification.”

As part of the code of conduct, the City Council recognises the time-honoured art form of busking in Galway and the contribution it makes to culture and the atmosphere of the city.

Under the code, buskers would have to ensure their performance does not endanger public safety, that they are at least three metres from business entrances and that they do not interfere with the safe movement of pedestrians.

They must spend no longer than two hours in one location and avoid reserving any particular pitch. They will also have to ensure that they are no less than 50 metres from another performer.

They would not be permitted to use any amplification that requires cabling and any equipment that is used must be battery powered. They will also be required to reduce the volume if they are requested to do so by business owners, the Gardaí or by a Galway City Council official.

The existing bye-laws that prohibit performing after 10pm in winter months and 11pm during the summer will remain in place.

The code would be reviewed after a pilot period of 12 months. Only after that will a decision be taken on the implementation of bye-laws.