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culture of fear Electric Picnic director blasts 'lack of leadership' in relation to reopening of live events

'Nphet have created a culture of fear and there is no political leadership that is challenging that or moving it on'


Melvin Benn (Brian Lawless/PA)

Melvin Benn (Brian Lawless/PA)

Melvin Benn (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Festival Director of Electric Picnic has expressed his anger at the “complete lack of leadership” from the government in relation to the reopening of live music events.

Organisers of Electric Picnic are currently “reviewing options” after Laois County Council refused to grant a licence for the music festival this year.

The event’s director, Melvin Benn, spoke to Bryan Dobson on RTÉ Radio One today and said that the government were not challenging Nphet, who he said had “created a culture of fear” despite the progress Ireland’s vaccination progamme has made.

He said: “There’s a complete lack of leadership it seems to me, and I am just angry, really, really angry because it is unnecessary, it’s wrong. The level of vaccination in Ireland is just incredibly high.

“Nphet have created a culture of fear and there is no political leadership that is challenging that or moving it on. It’s not about Laois County Council, the whole culture of fear is wrong. 

“What we were talking about at the Electric Picnic was fully vaccinated people. The test event where nothing was being recorded as significant spikes, we were just doing lateral flow tests.”

Mr Benn added that the difference between Ireland and countries like the US and UK, where large-scale events are resuming, is “political leadership.”

“It’s the same virus, it isn’t a different virus in Ireland that it is in UK or America. It isn’t a different science; the science is as clear as it comes. 

“Public health will tell you the safest event that can happen is one that doesn’t happen because nobody will get injured or get the virus from something that doesn’t happen.

“You can put people together, particularly in outdoor spaces, and provided they’re all tested and providing they’re all fully vaccinated, there will not be a spike as a result of it. The science is there but it is not being read and adopted and the clear difference is political leadership, no more than that.”

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