Laws to control public nuisance caused by buskers in Dublin city centre are now being recommended following the failure of a voluntary code of practice.

A Dublin City Council report found that 185 street performers registered for the code introduced last summer, but that a minority ignored it leading to a renewed increase in complaints.

Traders said the use of loud amplifiers were making life a "living hell" for some businesses, while the buskers themselves said fights were breaking out over "spots" to play on the street.

An arts committee meeting of the city council heard that gardaí regard the area in front of the GPO and Henry St as particularly difficult with "unsavoury characters" being intimidating and causing a nuisance.

Loud music is a problem on Grafton St and in Temple Bar Square.

A report by council official Margaret Geraghty also stated that a "cohort" of buskers knew there were no laws to deal with them.

"Unfortunately this has a significant negative impact on performers willing to work with the council and adhere to the code and reflects very badly on the reputation of the city," she said.

The council report stated that quality street performers are welcome and add to the attractiveness and colour of the city.

The report pointed out that the council included street performers in the Tall Ships festival, New Year's Eve celebrations and plan to involve them in the newly regulated Smithfield Horse Fair in March.

However, the committee agreed that new regulations similar to those in force in Galway and other European cities is needed and has now asked the city manager for draft by-laws to be drawn up.

Fine Gael Cllr Gerry Breen, who helped introduce the original voluntary code, said the new laws should be "minimal" to stop poor quality music at untimely hours.