Monday 25 May 2009

Gormley ready to slap €150 fines on noisy party hosts

NOISY party-throwers will be hit with on-the-spot fines of €150 when new laws clamping down on noise pollution are enacted later this year.

The Green Party unveiled details of the nuisance noise bill yesterday, which will also give gardai and local authorities the power to switch off alarms when they sound incessantly.

Environment Minister John Gormley said the Government had found a way around the constitutional legal issues of gardai going into a house to shut off an alarm -- that avoided entering the premises.

"The alarms are usually located on the outside, so they can go into the property, as such, and then turn off the alarm from the outside," Mr Gormley said.

"That's the easiest way to do it. Otherwise you are into very serious constitutional difficulties."

The bill, which has been spearheaded by Dun Laoghaire TD Ciaran Cuffe, will also penalise businesses that breach decibel limits with €1,000 fines.

"This law will improve people's quality of life," Mr Cuffe said. "It will finally give local authorities the power to deal with nuisance noise quickly and effectively.

"Under the current system council officials are not able to take action immediately to stop sources of noise pollution. They can go through the courts, but this takes weeks," he added.

A survey published by Dublin City Council in 2007 found that half a million people living in the capital were subjected to excessive noise levels above World Health Organisation guidelines. The noisiest parts were Dublin 1, 2 and 8, with traffic the main cause.

Irish Independent

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