Northern Ireland news


Parent 'raised concerns with council of Greenvale repeat' before Elk disco

The Elk complex near the Co Antrim village of Toome
Connla Young

A PARENT has said she raised concerns about the potential for a Greenvale-type tragedy days before a controversial teenage disco earlier this month.

The concerned parent contacted Mid Ulster District Council before the disco at the Elk Complex, near the Co Antrim village of Toome, on November 5.

Police subsequently received several complaints of overcrowding at the sold-out event and the council has suspended the venue's entertainment licence while an investigation takes place.

In a statement last night, a council spokeswoman said "the licence remains suspended and a prohibition notice remains in force".

The parent, whose child was due to attend the 'Teenelk' event, said she raised her concerns in light of the Greenvale Hotel tragedy which claimed the lives of three teenagers in 2019.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie died during a crush as they queued to get into the Cookstown venue on St Patrick's night.

Connor Currie (16), Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) died during a crush outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown in 2019

The parent, who did not want to be named, told The Irish News she became nervous after hearing large crowds of teenagers were due to attend the Elk event.

"I did say I had concerns about it and told them I would rather ring now before the event than a month after like the Greenvale Hotel," she said.

The anxious mother said she asked if council officials would monitor the disco on the night but did not receive a firm commitment.

It has been claimed that up to 1,700 people packed into the popular venue.

In the days after the disco the mother of a 13-year-old girl told The Irish News that her daughter's life was saved by a quick-thinking security guard amid concerns of serious overcrowding.

Separately, it emerged that 170 cases of positive and suspected Covid-19 had been recorded linked to the event.

The Public Health Agency also said that 800 people were self-isolating after being identified as close contacts.

In the weeks after the Greenvale tragedy, Mid Ulster council suspended the hotel's entertainment licence.

Earlier this year it renewed the licence with the condition that it is given at least two months notice of any function involving entertainment and paid admission.

A council spokeswoman was asked last night if officials attended the Elk in the days before the event or on the night.

The council has said "investigations are continuing and it would, therefore, be inappropriate for the council to comment further at this time".

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