Garth Brooks saga 'damaging tourism'

Economy set to lose €50m if concerts do not go ahead - Dublin Chamber of Commerce

Businesses call for solution to Garth Brooks concert, from left; Gina Quin, Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Donal O’Keeffe, Licenced Vintners Association and Senator Averil Power. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Businesses call for solution to Garth Brooks concert, from left; Gina Quin, Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Donal O’Keeffe, Licenced Vintners Association and Senator Averil Power. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 12:28

The ongoing Garth Brooks saga is damaging Ireland’s tourist reputation and will effect Ireland’s bid to attract international events, business groups said today.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce has said the economy is set to lose out on a €50 million windfall if the Garth Brooks concerts do not go ahead.

A decision will be made by tomorrow on whether any of the planned concerts at Croke Park will go ahead. Garth Brooks has said that he will play five concerts or none at all.

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Chief executive of the Restaurants Association Ireland Adrian Cummins said the “eyes of the world” are on Ireland’s event management industry because of the controversy.

“It’s hugely embarrassing for the country - people need to take a step back and put the country first on this occasion.”

“The spotlight is on Ireland and whether we can hold large scale concerts and events and sporting events of international reputation in the future. There is a huge bid on for the Rugby World Cup and other European soccer competitions. If we cannot get our act together with these five concerts, that will affect our bid in the future,” Mr Cummins said.

Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power said there are “huge flaws” in the licensing system that allow thousands of tickets to be sold subject to licence and a change in legislation is needed to ensure a situation like this never happens again.

Chief executive of Dublin Chamber of Commerce Gina Quin said it estimates the five planned concerts are worth up to €50 million to the economy and added it was a “conservative estimate”.

Ms Quin said there are 70,000 ticket holders coming to Ireland who have planned “a whole programme of activity” around the concerts.

“We clearly have a piece of planning legislation here that does not work for Ireland, concert promoters or ticket holders. This is all happening at the eleventh hour, we would love solution to this and for the five concerts to go ahead,” she said.

She added that the trucks to set up Brooks concerts are set to arrive in Dublin this time next week and a speedy solution is urgently needed.

Ms Quin said the best option now was to give the residents a break and defer two of the concerts to Wednesday and Thursday.

Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners’ Association Donal O’Keeffe -said their 600 members in Dublin are dependant on large events such as Garth Brooks .

The Licensed Vintners’ Association has written to the Dublin City Manager, Owen keegan, urging him to reverse his decision.

The LVA estimates that the loss of the five concerts could cost Dublin pubs as much as €15 million.

“Events drive our business now ....this has the potential to be a huge boon to the hospitality sector,” said Mr O’Keeffe.

President of Irish Hotel Federation Stephen McNally said it has been a “traumatic couple of days” for the industry.

“The way I see things at the minute - the patient is in intensive care. Really it’s not about blaming or why we got there but about curing the patient and doing everything we can to resolve this matter,” he said.

Mr McNally said up to 90,000 guests have booked into hotels for the concerts.

“We have had lots of calls and people are genuinely getting distressed because they don’t now whether they’re coming or going. Many of our guests have told us they’re taking this in as part of their annual holiday with the concert as their highlight.”

He added that if the concerts change dates, hotels will do everything they can to accommodate guests.