Croke Park residents prepared to ‘bend over backwards’ for three concerts, but no more

Plans for five concerts, including three by Garth Brooks, at stadium show ‘a total disrespect’, locals say

US country star Garth Brooks

US country star Garth Brooks

 

Residents of the Croke Park and Clonliffe Road area of Dublin have said they are prepared to “bend over backwards” and compromise with the GAA to allow three concerts go ahead next year, but not for any more.

Colm Stephens, PRO for the Clonliffe & Croke Park Area Residents Association, told Newstalk Breakfast there had been “hilarity” at the public meeting on Thursday night when Cork Park stadium director Peter McKenna had “made the poor mouth” saying that the GAA was “broke”.

The residents’ group has called on Dublin City Council to reject any further applications for additional concerts, claiming it will “greatly impact local residents’ lives”. There are currently proposals to hold seven concerts at the stadium, to be attended by more than 560,000 people in total.

Dublin City Council has granted licences for three concerts next September. It is understood they refer to to gigs by country music star Garth Brooks. An application for two more dates has also been received by the council.

“It’s like having a nightclub for 80,000 people in the middle of a residential area,” Mr Stephens said.

While some businesses such as shops and bars welcomed the concerts because of increased business, there were others who had to close when there were concerts in Croke Park, he said.

Impact of additional events

On Thursday night, the Clonliffe and Croke Park Area Residents Association said locals were “greatly concerned about the impact of additional events” and that “bookending four or five concerts at either side of a busy GAA season is an unacceptable intensification of the use of the stadium”.

“No other stadium in the world has imposed this type of burden on its local community. It is a total disrespect of the residents.”

The cordoned area around Croke Park was “the only residential community in Ireland where residents have to present a document or identification to be allowed to gain access to their homes when events and matches are taking place,” the group said.

There had been “no consultation” with local groups recently and as they called for the number of events in the stadium to be kept at three per year “to protect the amenity of the local residential community.”

The neighbourhoods of Jones Road, Clonliffe Road, St James Avenue and Foster Avenue in the immediate environs of the stadium are “residential communities of mixed families, young and old”.

Time to find solution

Lawyer Noeline Blackwell, who chaired the community meeting about concerts in Croke Park on Thursday night has said that there was a year before the second group of concerts would go ahead and that this time should be used wisely to work out a solution with the residents.

“There is a year, and that year should be used wisely about building structures and the serious impact on residents. There will be an opportunity for people to become involved and to work out a solution,” she said. “We will just have to work with people to build the best possible experience.”

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne, Ms Blackwell explained that Croke Park had ongoing permission to host three concerts, but had received planning permission for two further concerts next year.

The meeting, she said, heard concerns from residents about traffic disruption and anti-social behaviour such as public urination.

The differing points of view had been “clearly put” at the meeting, she said, and it was clear that “much more work needs to be done”.

“The point for me is that the next step needs to be about everyone getting together to ensure a safe and satisfactory experience.”