Burton urges talks to resolve Brooks concert controversy

Fianna Fáil accuses Government of sitting on its hands as row rumbled on

The head of the wax model of Garth Brooks as it sits on a shelf in the gift shop of the Wax Museum in Dublin. Iit is believed his body may have been lost when the museum moved from Parnell Square to College Green.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The head of the wax model of Garth Brooks as it sits on a shelf in the gift shop of the Wax Museum in Dublin. Iit is believed his body may have been lost when the museum moved from Parnell Square to College Green. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 13:20

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said the best way to resolve the controversy surrounding the Garth Brooks concerts is through discussion between the parties involved.

“I want to encourage the parties to engage in all of the discussions that are necessary to resolve this issue,’’ she told the Dáil today. She said the concerts would be a significant boost to the economy.

Ms Burton was replying to Fianna Fáil tourism spokesman Timmy Dooley, who criticised the Government for not getting involved earlier. He said the issue had gone from fiasco to farce.

As Mr Dooley was heckled by Government backbenchers, he asked why the Government had sat on its hands for a week, “when even the Mexicans….Barack Obama are getting involved’’.

Ms Burton, who was taking her first Opposition leaders’ questions as Tánaiste, remarked: “I thought the only people you left out were possibly the Brazilians who might be free to be involved at this point in time.”

She said the discussions could take place “in the light of facts that have come to attention, particularly in the last few days in relation to the process’’.

Ms Burton said she understood Garth Brooks was using Ireland as the launch pad for his world tour and make a music video. “If the concerts do get underway successfully, I think we should invite him, perhaps, to complete the world tour in Dublin, probably some time after two years,’’ she added.

Mr Dooley said it was clear some time ago that a crisis was looming, with the potential to strike an economic blow to Dublin city and tarnish Ireland’s international reputation.

He noted that a week ago he had published a short Bill to bring about a constructive outcome to the fiasco. “The Taoiseach sat on his hands for a week,’’ he added.

It was not, he said, about “a particular genre of entertainment’’ but the loss of €50 million in revenue and upsetting the travel plans of tourists and disappointing ticket-holders.