Council offered as ‘co-promoter’ for two Garth Brooks gigs

Committee hears decision to permit three of the since-cancelled shows was ‘reasonable’

Dublin City Council’s chief executive Owen Keegan has told an Oireachtas committee this morning that the decision to turn down two of five planned Garth Brooks gigs in Croke Park was the right one.

Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 13:23

Dublin City Council had yesterday offered to be a “co-promoter” for two rescheduled Garth Brooks concerts, but the offer was turned down, council chief executive Owen Keegan has told an Oireachtas committee.

Mr Keegan was this morning before the joint transport and communications committee to explain the council’s decision to licence three of the five concerts planned for Croke Park at the of this month, for which 400,000 tickets had been sold.

The council had shown “considerable flexibility” throughout the process but “there was absolutely no budge from the other side”, Mr Keegan said.

To grant a licence for five concerts would have been “totally unbalanced and inappropriate” he said, and he stood over the decision to grant a licence for three only.

Brooks had made his decision and “must accept the consequences” Mr Keegan said.

Mr Keegan has told the committee the decision to allow three and turn down permission for a further two concerts this month was “appropriate, balanced and reasonable” given the competing interests at play.

Brooks was due to play five nights at the GAA headquarters, but permission for two of the five was turned down after the tickets had been sold.

Furious efforts involving mediator Kieran Mulvey, Dublin City Council, Aiken Promotions and the Lord Mayor intensified last week and over the weekend, but a deal could not be reached.

Dublin City Council last week said there was no provision for an appeal of its planning ruling, allowing three concerts.

Last night, after a week of controversy with the concerts first cancelled, then under negotiation, the country singer gave the final thumbs down for the three concerts allowed by the authorities, rather than the five for which 400,000 tickets had been sold in January and February.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny this morning described the situation with the shows as a “mess”. Mr Kenny said he was disappointed the concerts were not going ahead. “I’m disappointed it didn’t happen but that’s the end of it,” he said.

“It was a mess and obviously for those who bought their tickets and wanted to see their superstar, they were disappointed of course.”

Brooks had said, in a statement last night: “As hard as I try, I cannot see the light on this one. So it is with a broken heart, I announce the ticket refunds for the event will go as posted by Ticketmaster.”

Ticketmaster had delayed the start of refunds until Thursday on the understanding that negotiations were ongoing to try to find a resolution.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said it was a “really unacceptable situation” that people could buy tickets in good faith, make travel and accommodation arrangements and “have all that taken from them”. “That’s not good for the image of Ireland and we need to do better,” he told RTÉ Radio.

Mr Howlin said he was “disappointed” that some concerts weren’t going ahead “from an economic perspective”.

However, Mr Howlin said an Oireachtas committee would begin looking at the process to that led to the cancellation to “see how we can do things better into the future”.

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