Northern Ireland

Garth Brooks' Dublin concerts all cancelled say promoters

Garth Brooks Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Garth Brooks had been booked for five shows at Croke Park in July

All five Garth Brooks' concerts planned for Dublin later this month have been cancelled.

Aiken Promotions said it was with "great regret" that it had to make the announcement and said it had "exhausted all avenues" in relation to staging the gigs at Croke Park.

Last week, Dublin City Council granted permission for only three of the five planned concerts.

The move prompted the US singer to say he would play "all or none".

Aiken Promotions said it would outline details on Wednesday on how people who had bought tickets could secure refunds.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Garth Brooks came to Croke Park in January to promote his summer concerts
Image copyright corbis
Image caption Fans queued for tickets, with some camping out for several nights

About 400,000 fans had booked tickets for the five sold-out concerts, which were due to be staged from 25-29 July, but permission was only granted for shows on 25, 26 and 27 July.

'Legal threat'

Brooks said to chose which shows to play and which not to, would be "like asking to choose one child over another".

Residents who live near Croke Park, the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) stadium in north Dublin, where the concerts were due to be held had threatened legal action after the initial two concerts were increased to five because of unprecedented demand.

They claimed they were not consulted before the organisers announced the shows or put the tickets on sale.

The council said that granting all five concerts, following on from three by One Direction in May, would have doubled the previous maximum number of concerts held at Croke Park per year.

The GAA had an agreement with residents that a maximum of three concerts would be held each year in the sports venue.

The council said 373 submissions had been received from residents, residents' groups and local businesses.

The promoters lodged an application for a licence to stage all five shows on 17 April despite not having secured formal permission from the council.

This is not an unusual practice in the Republic of Ireland, but the controversy over the Garth Brooks concerts has brought the issue into the spotlight.

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Enda Kenny said the cancellation of the concerts was damaging to the country.

Speaking in the Dáil (Irish parliament), Mr Kenny said the entire episode had been very badly handled.

On Monday, Dublin City councillors backed a motion calling for the five concerts to go ahead.

Last week the council said it could not reverse the decision permitting only three.

Lost revenue

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said three days of talks with promoter Peter Aiken, the GAA and mediator Kieran Mulvey had failed to find a solution.

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Media captionPromoter Peter Aiken said the firm had explored all options

The chief executive of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Gina Quin, estimated that the lost revenue to businesses in Dublin if none of the concerts went ahead would be 50m euros (£39.7m).

She said the problem lay in the planning process when it came to applying for concerts.

"These tickets were sold in February, the planning wasn't applied for until April, the decision wasn't made on that planning process, because it needs to go through due regard to allow people to appeal and put in objections, until last Thursday to only allow three of the five concerts to go ahead and that's simply too late," she said.

Garth Brooks is one of America's most famous country stars with a career that has seen him become one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Garth Brooks is one of America's most famous country stars with a career that has seen him become one of the best-selling artists of all time

The 52-year-old has recently said that Ireland was the best place in the world for him and his favourite place to sing.

He has sold more than 125m albums with hits such as The Thunder Rolls, Friends in Low Places and Unanswered Prayers.

It has been 17 years since his last concert in Dublin.

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