Lack of free NYE events in Dublin ‘appalling’, council meeting hears

Councillors criticise blocking off of Liffey quayside for ticketed concert

The lack of a free civic event to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dublin was “insulting” and “appalling” Dublin city councillors have said.

A New Year’s Eve festival was held at North Wall Quay in the docklands, with tickets costing €34.90 to ring in the New Year with Westlife, Gavin James and Lyra. An early matinee event featuring Gavin James and Lyra and Brad Heidi had tickets costing from €7.90.

The quayside paths and bridges over the Liffey were blocked off to those who had not bought tickets.

Sinn Fein councillor Micheal MacDonncha, said it was “dreadful” and “appalling” that parts of the city were reserved for paying customers only.


“The most appalling aspect of this is that the council executive facilitated a private event by actually blocking off and in my opinion desecrating the public spaces in this city with hideous barriers and hideous constructions to try and stop the public from seeing parts of the city because they didn’t pay in,” he said. “I just think it’s dreadful. No self-respecting city would do the like of it.”

People Before Profit councillor Deirdre Cronin said it was not acceptable the council had not provided free events for citizens. “Blocking off of the city was insulting, the whole idea that you weren’t allowed a free look at what other people were paying for, that’s not acceptable in a capital city on New Year’s Eve.”

Tara Deacy of the Social Democrats said it was disappointing the council had not even organised a fireworks display. “Thousands of people left the city very disappointed,” she said.

However, Green Party councillor Donna Cooney said she had attended the matinee event with her family and it was “absolutely excellent” she said. “I couldn’t have spent a better €18.”

Assistant council chief executive Richard Shakespeare said the council did not have the money to stage the event.

“All we did was license the event. We did not fund it and it has been a paid event since I came into the city council in 2017. It is expensive and the reason have all the fencing and other barriers is one of safety and security in terms of managing the numbers in the space.”

If councillors wanted to fund the event, they might think again about reducing the local property tax each year, he said. “If you want to do something serious you need to put serious money behind it.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times