Electric Picnic organiser calls for festival to go ahead after CMO's comments
"Change the decision Laois County Council and let’s have the Picnic."
The Managing Director of Festival Republic, which runs Electric Picnic, has called for Laois County Council to "immediately reverse" the decision it took earlier this month to refuse the event's license.
Festival Republic's Melvin Benn issued the plea following comments made by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan during a NPHET briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
The CMO was asked if there would be any justification from a public health perspective as to why an outdoor concert event, such as Electric Picnic, could not proceed if there was only vaccinated people in attendance.
"We wouldn't have a concern from a public health point-of-view to express about an event that happened that was confined to vaccinated people," Holohan said.
"We are in a slightly different position when we would have considered some of these things earlier in the year, in that the level of disease that we have in the population - we now have vaccinated people with the disease who are symptomatic and are capable of transmitting this disease to other people.
"But the risks of a vaccinated person transmitting the disease and it being picked up by another vaccinated person, although they exist, they're very very small.
"So we wouldn't have a major concern to express in public health terms about that, if that can be achieved."
Prior to Laois County Council refusing the license for Electric Picnic, Benn said about his plans for Electric Picnic: "The intention would be that the full 70,000 people that the license that is applied for would attend.
"I am in some ways bowing to the pressure that exists by declaring that only those people that are fully vaccinated or immune because they've had the virus in the last six months can attend, work or perform at the event."
Referring to the CMO's comments, Benn wrote on Tuesday: "It’s hard for me to believe what I just read but I want to. We are asking Laois County Council to immediately reverse the decision it took to refuse the licence and grant it immediately in line with the CMO’s conditions: that everyone attending should be vaccinated, exactly as we said a month ago.
"What a springboard to the future this could be. Change the decision Laois County Council and let’s have the Picnic. Tell us tomorrow and we are on our way."
The festival had been scheduled to take place on 24-26 September.
Main image via Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie