VFI Cork statement in response to claims made by Oktoberfest Beag organisers

Claims made by the Oktoberfest organisers in a statement posted to its Facebook page (on Saturday 7th September) are highly misleading. In particular, VFI City Secretary Michael O’Donovan emphatically states he did not make the comment attributed by Daryl Cronin to him (“the VFI always wins”).

In relation to the cancellation of Oktoberfest Beag and the alleged role played by the VFI, there are several claims made by Daryl Cronin that need to be addressed:

  • Contrary to claims made by the organisers, no objections were lodged in court by the VFI.
  • On Thursday 6th September, the VFI was made aware the licence application for the event would be made the following day. On the same day, Daryl Cronin was made aware of the VFI concerns surrounding the event.
  • On Friday morning (7th September), it was agreed in court to adjourn the application until Tuesday 11th September, pending discussions between the VFI and the event organisers. The VFI was not present at the court hearing. As the VFI understands the situation, the event organisers could have proceeded with the application to allow the judge make a final decision but chose not to make an application.
  • During a subsequent Friday 1pm phone call between Michael and Daryl issues of concern were addressed and it was agreed the VFI would remove its concerns about the event.
  • The process of removing concerns raised involved contacting the relevant Garda Inspector. It did not involve contacting the courts as no objection had been lodged with the courts.
  • It took until 4.15pm on Friday to contact the Garda Inspector and once that was done Michael contacted Daryl at 4.23pm by text. In his statement, Daryl claims Michael wrote the VFI was “withdrawing it’s concerns” but the actual text is “I just spoke with Inspector and told him we are happy for you to proceed and our objection is now withdrawn. Good luck with the event.”
  • Daryl also claims “up until close of business Friday it’s important to note that the VFI Cork still had an objection lodged with the courts”. This is incorrect. The VFI had no objections lodged with the courts – at anytime.
  • Daryl states: “We exhausted every effort to prevent this but I felt it was being frustrated intentionally at every chance.” The entire episode lasted from Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon. There were several phone calls between Michael and Daryl that, ultimately, resulted in the concerns being removed. To state that organisers were “frustrated intentionally at every chance” is not accurate.

Daryl claims the event was cancelled because the VFI refused to issue a letter of support. We find it staggering that the decision to proceed with a large-scale event was dependent on such a letter, which was requested just one week prior to the start of Oktoberfest Beag.

It’s important to mention how unusual it is for a licence application for a large-scale event to be made one week before opening day. Normally applications are made to the courts six to 10 weeks prior to the event taking place.

Press contact:

Brian Foley
Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Vintners’ Federation of Ireland

01 492 3400

[email protected]