Keegan says he did tell GAA he’d support five Brooks concerts

Dublin city chief executive appearing again before Oireachtas transport committee

Country music star Garth Brooks performs at the 48th ACM Awards in Las Vegas in in April 2013. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Country music star Garth Brooks performs at the 48th ACM Awards in Las Vegas in in April 2013. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 20:35

Dublin city chief executive Owen Keegan has told the Oireachtas transport committee he did tell Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna he would be supportive of five Garth Brooks concerts.

“I fully accept that I did indicate that I would support the five,” Mr Keegan said in his second round of questioning in relation to the concerts licensing decision concerning the American country singer.

However, he said this was not the same as saying the concerts would get licence.

“I gave absolutely no assurance, nor could I have given any assurance at that stage, that all five concerts would be licensed because no event licence application had been submitted in respect of the concerts.”

He said he made it clear his support was conditional on the “legitimate concerns” of residents being taken into account.

He said there was subsequently a failure by GAA and Aiken Promotions to address these concerns.

Mr Brooks formally announced the cancellation of all his Croke Park concerts – for which 400,000 tickets had been sold – last Monday and ticket refunds began yesterday.

Mr Keegan told the committee last Tuesday that Aiken Promotions would have been aware from the time the five concerts were announced that the council had “serious concerns” about the number and the promoter could not have had a “legitimate expectation” five licences would be granted.

However, the following day GAA director general Páraic Duffy told the committee it was “incomprehensible” the five gigs were not given the go-ahead.

He said there was not “even a hint” a licence would be refused for all five shows which had become an “unmissable national event”.

He said, prior to the submission of a licence application earlier this year, Mr McKenna had received a phone call from Mr Keegan advising him the council would “support a licence application for all five”.

In a statement on Tuesday night the council said, no assurance was give that all five proposed concerts would be licensed.