- 15 Jul 14
The fall-out from the cancellation of the five Garth Brooks shows in Croke Park began in earnest today, with the appearance this morning of the Dublin City Manager, Owen Keegan, before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.
During the course of a lengthy session, the most senior official in Dublin City Council insisted that his decision to let only three of Garth Brooks’ five Croke Park concerts go ahead was, “appropriate, balanced and reasonable”…
"If the integrity of the planning system is to be maintained,” he went on, "it is important that the interests of no single individual or organisation, no matter how cherished a place they occupy in the hearts of the nation, are allowed to unduly influence that system.”
He insisted that the council had shown “considerable flexibility” in trying to arrive at a compromise but that “there was absolutely no budge from the other side.”
Among the revelations was that Dublin City Council had offered to co-promote a series of concerts later in the year, as a way of trying to resolve the impasse. However, Garth Brooks refused that offer, believing that he could not disappoint 160,000 fans who had bought tickets, by delaying the final two shows.
There is potential for further controversy in relation to the allegation – confirmed by Gardaí – that up to 40% of the objections made against the concerts were bogus. Questioned by the Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, Owen Keegan admitted that Dublin City Council had not made efforts to verify that the objections were legitimate. In addition, it emerged that one of the city planners who was involved in making the decision to limit the number of concerts to three, Jim Keogan, owns a property in Clonliffe Gardens, close to Croke Park, in which his son and his daughter-in-law live. However, both he and Owen Keegan said that they did not believe that this involved a conflict of interest for the planner.
All ears will be on the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications again tomorrow, when Aiken Promotions and the GAA get to present their side of a story that has gripped the nation over the past fortnight.
Making things that little bit extra painful for Brooks’ Irish fans was the announcement today that his world comeback tour will now kick off on September 4, in Chicago’s Allstate Arena. Tickets priced from $65.50 go on sale on Friday July 25, from American Ticketmaster. The country superstar has encouraged Irish fans to “come see the show elsewhere” and make their presence known by waving a tricolour.
His last world tour in 1998, when all tickets were $20, grossed $105 million. Music industry commentators reckon that, this time round, he could exceed the half-billion mark.
- Live Review
- 02 Jul 22