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Buskers banned from using rude and racist language in Killarney

Explicitly family-friendly lyrics and banter only on streets of the tourist capital from now on under new bye-laws designed so all ‘can live in harmony’

Busking is allowed as long as it is kept clean

Sinead KelleherKerryman

Killarney's buskers cannot use lewd or racist language and must have a sufficient repertoire of songs to avoid repetition, under new laws revealed this week to control street performances in the tourist town.

The new Street Performers Bye-Laws 2023, which will come into effect on June 1,2023 ahead of next year's tourist season, will also include strict rules on the volume of performances with the sound levels to not go above 80 decibels and performers must stop if a crowd is blocking the street.

A two-hour limit on busking at one location is also to be imposed on street performers and busking is only to be allowed between 11am and 9pm.

Council management said that laws were being introduced so “we can live together in harmony”

There has been an ongoing campaign to control busking in the tourist capital for almost 20 years but in recent years buskers in the town have received much criticism from local councillors who say they receive complaints on a regular basis about the standard of the performances in the town.

Such has been the concern about street performers in the tourist town that local businesses had been forced to turn up their amplifiers and put speakers outside in an attempt to outperform the noise from mobile buskers.

At a municipal meeting earlier this year Labour Councillor Marie Moloney said some buskers were described as hitting noise levels “worse than an orchestra”. She said not a weekend goes by without a complaint from constituents urging her to contact Gardaí over late-night busking.

There had also been previous complaints about the language used by a street performer in the town.

Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher, who said previously he is ‘like a broken record’ calling for these bye-laws said the new defined structure is to be welcomed.

Designated locations have been assigned to buskers in the town which are primarily along the town's main streets.

They also include a requirement for a licence for all those wishing to perform on the streets of the town which is expected to cost in the region of €30.

Anyone breaching the new laws can get a fine of up to €1,500 if they go to court and there is also an on-the-spot fine.

Rules around equipment to used and the type of performance are also included in the new bye-laws.

Acting Director of Services Paul Neary said the new bye-laws were not to prohibit street performers who are part of the town but to allow busking to be regulated.

Councillors welcomed the new bye-laws but raised concerns about the enforcement of such laws and in particular the time limit and sound levels.

Mr Neary said Municipal District Officers and An Garda Siochána would monitor all the rules. He said there is equipment to monitor sounds levels to enforcement on that is possible and he said two-hour parking is monitored and so too will the time limit on buskers.

The bye-laws will now go out to public consultation to allow everyone to give their views on the proposed laws. It is anticipated that the report on the public consultation process along with final drafts of the proposed byelaws will be brought to the scheduled Municipal District meeting in March 2023, in advance of the summer season.

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