THE alcohol licence for Electric Picnic has been granted but Portlaoise’s District Court Judge Catherine Staines has warned its promoter Mr John Reynolds to adopt a zero-tolerance drugs policy.
Previously, the Picnic has been run by POD Entertainment, of which Mr Reynolds is director, but last week the application for this year’s licence was made in the name of another of Mr Reynolds’ companies, Mercroft Taverns Ltd.
Mr Reynolds’ solicitor explained to the court that the bars at this year’s festival will be run in the same way as on past occasions, with only the name of the applicant differing from previous years. An events licence has already been granted by Laois County Council, with 54 separate conditions included. There were no fire concerns
Pointing out that she has recently spent two days dealing with people found in possession of drugs at last year’s Picnic, Judge Staines asked Mr Reynolds what assurance he could give that his company will operate a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drug use.
“We don’t tolerate drugs at all,” said Mr Reynolds. “We work closely with the gardaí and meet regularly with them over the weekend, any co-operation they need we give them.”
Mr Reynolds went on to admit that, with 35,000 people present at the festival, “you’re always going to have elements to deal with”.
Judge Staines asked was the zero-tolerance approach incorporated into the advertising campaign for the event, to which Mr Reynolds informed her that the anti-drugs message was on the Picnic website but not all promotional material.
Subject to an increased promotion of the festival’s zero-tolerance of drugs, Judge Staines granted the licence to Mercroft Taverns Ltd.