Council seeks public’s opinion on busking restrictions

Proposals for new busking bylaws in the city centre – which will lower the noise level and keep streets clear of congestion – are to go on public display this week.

The message was clear, though, from this week’s City Council meeting — buskers are here to stay as they are recognised as part of the artistic fabric of Galway.

However, the Council is making another attempt at improving the bylaws to keep both the buskers and local people, especially businesses, content.

A sub-committee of the elected Council has been working on the new bylaws for a number of months and this week it was agreed to display these to the public for a period of six weeks so that people could make submissions.

One of the crucial proposed changes is to amplification. It is proposed that only battery powered portable amplification can be used with a maximum power output of 50 watts and not weighing any more than 6kg.

This was discussed at length, with the Mayor, Pearce Flannery – who has busked in the past – pointing out it wasn’t the size of the amplifiers that counted but their power and how their owners controlled the volume.

Some councillors also raised concerns about ‘child abuse’ on the streets in the form of very young children being left busking for hours on their own and an adult appearing every so often to take the cash.

To address that, there is a proposal to insist all buskers under the age of 16 have a permit, but there were concerns voiced that this could not be operated especially at the weekends when City Hall was closed.

All councillors were in agreement that circle acts — such as high-wire acts, flame throwers and various circus performances — would be confined to Eyre Square and the Spanish Arch.
To read more on the busking discussion at City Hall, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.