Music venue cancels gig in response to community backlash

November 28, 2016

A Dundalk music venue was forced to cancel a planned appearance of country music performer Eamonn Jackson on Saturday night amid protests from members of the public in relation to allegations of animal cruelty linked to the singer.

The Lisdoo Bar & Restaurant had been scheduled to host Mr Jackson and his band at its weekly country and western dance night on Saturday.  However, in the days leading up to the event, members of Dundalk Dog Rescue group led protests against his appearance, referring to him as “Ireland’s most infamous puppy farmer”.

The group says Mr Jackson is well known for his links to a Cavan-based puppy farm and while this activity is not illegal, they claim it is “100% immoral” and has a hugely detrimental effect on dogs who are over-bred to sell their pups for profit.

Their campaign soon gained momentum with hundreds lending their support and calling on the Lisdoo management to reconsider the booking.

In response to the community backlash, the Lisdoo cancelled the gig and explained that the booking was initially made via an outside promotional company.  In a statement, the management acknowledged the level of opposition and although satisfied that Mr Jackson operates his dog breeding business within regulations and has no convictions against him, they cancelled his appearance “due to the volume of public outcry”.

Having contacted “all parties concerned”, the Lisdoo issued the following statement: “We believed Mr Jackson had not had any convictions against him nor any documented evidence with regard to his dog breeding business.  We took this at face value after assurances from a meeting with Mr Jackson in which he produced his license, permits and images of his facility but due to the volume of public outcry we feel that it is in everybody’s best interest to cancel his appearance this Saturday night.  We are a family business that has always supported our local community and will continue to do so.”

The manageement, however, criticized how some staff members were treated by protestors in the run up to the scheduled event: “While we appreciate all the people who contacted us and expressed their views and opinions calmly and respectfully, we strongly feel that the level of abuse that we and our staff have received in the last 24 hours was completely unacceptable, which included verbal threats and also a member of staff being verbally abused publicly [in a local shopping centre] with his young children.

“We totally appreciate all the good work that Dundalk Dog Rescue do and we will continue to support them in any way we can.  We hope that this is the end of this matter and we can all move forward from here. We work very hard to provide an excellent service to all our customers and have achieved an excellent reputation over the years.

“We would appreciate if any of the negative reviews on our Facebook page that do not concern our service or food could be removed as soon as possible,” the statement ended.

The move was warmly welcomed by Dundalk Dog Rescue group and many individual commenters who praised the establishment for taking the stance and offered their support for the popular business going forward.

Meanwhile, a supporter of Mr Jackson vehemently denied any wrongdoing in relation to his dog breeding business, and told Dundalk news source ‘Talk of the Town’ that there has been “a lot of misunderstanding” and any improvement notices issued to the business “have been completed”.

“Eamonn has been the target of a viscious online campaign by animal activists.  All newspaper articles written on him are mistruths and used to tarnish this man’s career. Dog breeding is legal in Ireland,” the supporter claimed.