Dublin City Council has never refused events licence at Croke park before
Garth Brooks decision was a first
Garth Brooks, in Croke Park, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
So familiar is the term “subject to licence” it gives few music fans pause for thought before shelling out ever increasing sums for concert tickets.
It has become standard industry practice to the extent that concert promoters have no qualms about selling tickets, in the absence of a licence, sometimes a full year before an event.
The risks of a temperamental star failing to show are probably of far greater concern to a promoter or venue owner because local authorities do not refuse licences. Dublin City Council confirmed that it has never refused an event licence for Croke Park, and its spokesman said he was “pretty sure” it hadn’t happened in relation to any other venue.
The planning Act under which outdoor events are licensed allows for pre-application consultations between the local authority and those seeking to hold the event.
After these talks the applicant should have a reasonable idea if the event is a runner before submitting an application. This also allows agreement to be reached in relation to the management and policing of any event.
Another reason refusals are rare is the decision is an executive one, meaning the management side of the local authority, through the planning department, and not the elected representatives, decides if an event will get a licence. Councillors, who come under pressure from their constituents in relation to licensing, and might be more likely to refuse an application, can make their views known to the planning department, but these views carry no more weight than any other public submission.
Concert promoter Peter Aiken appeared genuinely shocked yesterday when he said that the council had given no indication that five concerts would be a problem.
Dermot Jewell of the Consumer Association said allowing the sale of tickets for unlicensed events was a disaster waiting to happen. “Promoters have been taunting the inevitable and the inevitable finally bit them.”