Matinees the solution to Garth Brooks impasse, says council

Offer of day-time events does not contravene licence and ‘remains on the table’

Garth Brooks in Croke Park in January. Yesterday he referred to matinees as “half-assed”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

Garth Brooks in Croke Park in January. Yesterday he referred to matinees as “half-assed”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.

Fri, Jul 11, 2014, 01:00

Dublin City Council has said its offer to allow all five Garth Brooks concerts to go ahead in Croke Park in two weeks’ time – but only if two of the performances are matinee shows – “remains on the table”.

The agreement was brokered between council chief executive Owen Keegan and concert promoter Peter Aiken yesterday morning, before Brooks gave a press conference where he referred to matinees as “half-assed”.

The plan, which had also been agreed with gardaí, would see the night-time concerts go ahead as planned on Friday, July 25th, Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th, with additional matinees on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

This would still comply with the terms of the council’s licence, a spokesman said.

The council last week refused permission for the two concerts planned for July 28th and 29th, due to fears of noise, traffic disruption, illegal parking and “potential antisocial behaviour”.

Earlier this week Mr Keegan said it was not “legally possible” for the council to reopen the decision to grant a licence or to amend the conditions attaching to that licence. He also said the prospect of the council participating in a mediation process that involves changing the decision “cannot arise”.

However, following the intervention of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Keegan agreed to meet Mr Aiken yesterday morning.

Legal advice

The matinee option was proposed by the concert promoter, and, following legal advice, Mr Keegan determined the day-time shows would be possible without changing the licence terms. The Saturday and Sunday double shows would be seen as continuous licensed events, but with earlier start times.

Brooks ruled out matinees, saying the shows had been specially designed for night-time.

Sources in the council said the matinee option remained open for Brooks and the promoter to accept, and was the only one logistically and legally possible within the timeframe. “There isn’t really anything else we can put forward at this stage.”

During his press conference Brooks referred to the “gentleman” who made the decision, saying: “There should be somebody over this gentleman that can walk over and go, ‘you’ve done your job, now I’m telling you we’re going to allow these people to come and sing.’ ”

A spokesman for Mr Keegan said he had no response to make to that comment.

Croke Park Community and Handball Centre, which had objected to the gigs, earlier yesterday said it was “prepared to consider a new direction” with a view to facilitating the holding of the cancelled concerts.

Last night, the Taoiseach added: “We have a very can-do attitude, and I think the progress made by the city manager, with the promoter, and all of the organisations involved, have put on the table now a potential solution, so let’s see.”