Buskers playing loudly through PA systems and amplifiers are harming city businesses and preventing other buskers with acoustic instruments from being heard.
This is the view of Labour city councillor Niall McNelis who is calling for action to be taken on the issue, including the more rigourous implementation of City Hall’s own busking bye-laws.
Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, Cllr McNelis was keen to point out that he is not calling for a ban on busking or for its regulation.
“Busking is actually something important the city has to offer,” he said. “It has been a launch pad for the careers of KeyWest and Paddy Casey and it fills the city with colour and adds to its bohemian vibe.”
Instead Cllr McNelis is focusing on those buskers who use amplification and the issues it creates for shoppers, businesses, and other buskers.
“There are buskers who use professional PA systems and the noise level affects business,” he said. “They often play very loudly and that is irritating for staff of nearby businesses. It also makes it difficult to hear customers.”
Cllr McNelis said there may also be an insurance problem if a member of the public should trip over wires from the PA systems to the generators which power them.
The Labour councillor said amplification is also “unfair on other buskers” as it “drowns them out” and prevents them from being heard and having an opportunity to play.
The Galway City Council has bye-laws regarding busking in place since 2011 that allow for busking between 9am and 10pm during November, December, January, and February and from 9am to 11pm the rest of the year.
Cllr McNelis said these need to be enforced more rigourously and that the gardaí “must have the power to tell buskers to turn down the volume of their PA” or to “move on” if a shop does not want them outside its premises.