Council votes to ban buskers using backing tracks in Dublin

Amplifiers will also be banned in parts of the city, including areas of Temple Bar

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Amplifiers and backing tracks are to be banned for buskers in parts of Dublin city.

Dublin City Council has voted to get rid of amplification in parts of Temple Bar and also around the GPO on O'Connell Street. However, councillors stopped short of a total ban on amplifiers.

The Irish Times reports that a vote on a citywide ban on backing tracks was accepted at a meeting of councillors last night.

However, a proposal to ban percussion and woodwind instruments - including the uilleann pipes - was voted down.

Musicians will have to have a selection of tracks that lasts 30 minutes - meaning they will not be allowed repeat songs over and over again.

Meanwhile, buskers will only be able to perform for a maximum of two hours on the same site - reducing to one hour for Grafton Street. A temporary permit for visiting performers will also be introduced.

Andrew Kavanagh - lead singer with Keywest, who busk around Dublin - says he thinks some of the changes "went a step too far [...] I think they're just using the by-laws to target specific buskers - to weed out bad apples causing the majority of the problems".

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, he explained: "If you're an opera singer you need a backing track [or] If you're playing any sort of solo instrument [...] There's just a couple of guys out there that are a bit annoying, I guess, and now we have a law to deal with those two or three people that we're talking about".

The votes came after Dublin City Council committee last month recommended banning street performers from using backing tracks.

In a statement ahead of last night's meeting, Sinn Féin Councillor Chris Andrews said: "DCC receive regular complaints about severe congestion on Grafton Street, and are now proposing to restrict dance acts, [circus] acts and large bands to the St Stephens Green end of the street where there is a more suitable space available."

The amendments follow the introduction of by-laws for street performers last year, which included a requirement for performers to hold a permit.