Taxpayers foot pounds 800,00 Garda bill for festivals.
THE bill for providing Gardai and emergency services at this summer's Witnness Festival and Slane concerts will cost around pounds 1million - with taxpayers paying most of it.
Under the new licensing legislation promoters MCD and Wonderland are making a contribution to the operational costs to the events.
They are paying pounds 70,288 or 20 per cent of the pounds 351,442 bill of policing of the second U2 concert on September 1.
But the balance of the Garda bill - pounds 281,154 - will be paid by the State.
This does not include the services of the Air Support Unit, the Dog Unit, the Mounted Unit and the Water Unit, which will boost the cost to pounds 375,000 for the day.
Documents given to Meath County Council suggest the operation for Slane 2 will be the same as the first Slane concert a week earlier.
This means the Garda bill for the two concerts will be pounds 750,000.
And for the two-day Witnness - held over the August bank holiday weekend and featuring Texas- the Garda bill will be pounds 200,000.
The health board costs could top pounds 58,000.
Under the terms of the licence for Witnness, the promoters must pay the Gardai pounds 30,000, the health board pounds 58,000 and Meath Council pounds 24,000.
A Garda spokesman said: "This is our duty and has always been classed as part of our job whether it is the Galway Races, Croke Park or a concert."
The NEHB and local Gardai added that MCD have always contributed towards costs even before the new licensing laws made legal provision for them to do so.
But Meath County Councillor Nick Killian, who lives close to Fairyhouse, said: "This event is being subsidized by the taxpayer. The volume of people means Gardai are needed for traffic duty, security and even the drugs squads and to me pounds 30,000 is a paltry sum."
However, Garda Chief Supt Michael Finnegan said: "It is our job to police events like these and provide Gardai to ensure the safety of people and the flow of traffic."