NEW bylaw controls protecting the quality and quantity of busking and noise created by street performers in Cork city centre could be introduced.
Councillor Joe Kavanagh (FG) has said buskers are "crucial" to the city’s ambience and has asked the council to explore regulations around the standard of busking and the noise they produce in order to enhance the environment in the city centre.
In Dublin, street performer bylaws introduced in 2016 restrict the use of backing tracks, performers are limited to how long they can perform for and amplified busking is banned in some areas.
Cork City Council previously explored bylaws for busking to amplification control and the local authority does require that the use of public spaces be licenced and issues permits as long as the performances do not adversely affect the physical fabric of the street, traffic flows or business activity.
In 2013, Ken O’Flynn (FF) submitted a motion to the city council asking that busking times be limited, performers have a repertoire of at least 20 songs, amplification be restricted and street performers maintain a distance of 50 metres from each other.
Mr Kavanagh believes that more control is needed in the run-up to Christmas and defined regulations should be introduced.
“Busking is a fantastic attraction but we have to have some degree of regulation,” he told The Echo.
“There has to be a line that you can’t cross. You couldn’t have a heavy metal band down in Oliver Plunkett Street, for example, and there has to be some idea of what people can and can’t do.
“Busking is of critical importance to every city because it adds a whole new cultural dimension and tourists and locals like the atmosphere, buzz and ambience it brings, particularly around Christmas time.
“We do need some sort of a bylaw or regulation and we need to ensure that we have people of a certain standard.
“It’s a free-for-all at the moment and we have to protect offices and businesses from potential noise pollution. You can’t have people trying to work and a band blasting out music below their window but once performers fit in with the surroundings, it’s good for the city,” Mr Kavanagh added.
The matter is set to be discussed by City Hall’s roads and transport directorate next month.