THE father of Cork’s best-known busker is fully behind any moves to regulate busking in the city.
Street performers have been regulated in Dublin for some time and Galway recently introduced bye-laws to manage performers on its streets.
Mark Sherlock, father of teen singer-songwriter Allie, said it is past time for Cork city to follow their lead.
“It is 100% necessary and that is coming from our experience,” he told the Evening Echo. “When we first went to Dublin we thought it was crazy but it works so well. There are only a couple of good spots in Cork, or any city, and if we go to Dublin I know we are guaranteed to get one of those spots if we are willing to queue.
“On Henry Street you can play for two hours and on Grafton Street it’s an hour. You also can’t play in the same spot that day. So if it is a poor busker, shops nearby don’t have to put up with rubbish outside their door. That could work well in Cork because there are a lot of annoying ones.”
Cork city councillor Des Cahill has said he and others have brought the issue up before and he intends to pursue it again, on behalf of retailers.
“We brought it up because we got a lot of complaints, particularly from traders who may have had to listen to a repertoire of three songs all day long outside their premises,” Mr Cahill said.
Oliver Plunkett Street and Winthrop Street are frequently mentioned as areas where this is a particular concern and Mr Sherlock said he has every sympathy with the city centre retailers.
“I’m a business owner as well and I would not like some of them outside my shop, it’s not fair,” he said.
Mr Sherlock says he and Allie find it much easier to get her a good spot in Dublin in comparison to her home city: “The problem in Cork is they stay there all day, we have a few favourite spots and if somebody is there it is gone for the day. In Dublin, we can stand until they are finished.
“It works, its great and it means everyone will get a chance in the day.”
Although he would not agree with all the rules introduced — he would not be a fan of banning amplification before 6pm as Galway has done — overall he thinks regulation and licensing would be positive overall: “Everything needs rules, everything needs a structure.”