New chair for mediation between Croke Park and locals

Flac director to manage ‘ongoing relationship’ following Garth Brooks controversy

Free Legal Advice Centre director general Noeline Blackwell has been appointed chair of a mediation process to manage the ‘ongoing relationship’ between Croke Park and local residents. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Free Legal Advice Centre director general Noeline Blackwell has been appointed chair of a mediation process to manage the ‘ongoing relationship’ between Croke Park and local residents. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A mediation process to manage the “ongoing relationship” between Croke Park and local residents following last year’s controversy over the cancelled Garth Brook gigs will be chaired by Free Legal Advice Centre (Flac)director general Noeline Blackwell.

Earlier this month, Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna accepted that the plan to host five Garth Brooks concerts on successive evenings last summer was excessive.

None of the events took place as the singer cancelled all performances after Dublin City Council gave permission for only three nights.

Speaking today (Friday eve), Clonliffe and Croke Park Area Residents’ Association spokesman Colm Stephens said the mediation was necessary because of “a series” of broken promises from Croke Park.

“There has been a series of agreements in the past that haven’t been implemented or have been broken by Croke Park,” Mr Stephens said.

“They haven’t done what they committed to do. For example, one of them is that there’d be no more than three concerts every year, and last year, of course, they attempted to break that.

“We have an agreement with them that they would not use Croke Park two days in a row unless under very special circumstances - it would be only for replays and things - and we have just received a schedule of matches for the year and there are a number of weekends already where they are planning for matches two days in a row.”

Ms Blackwell agreed to take up the role following two meetings attended by the residents, elected representatives and Croke Park officials.

Residents’ association chairman Pat Gates said it was “a very positive step” that Ms Blackwell had agreed “to help us iron out our differences”.

“She is clearly independent of all the parties involved and will bring a fresh view to the issues that have arisen over the years and which remain unresolved,” Mr Gates added.