Northern Ireland

Garth Brooks Croke Park Dublin concerts cancelled reaction

US country superstar Garth Brooks will not stage any of his five concerts that had been planned for Dublin's Croke Park stadium later this month.

More than 400,000 tickets had been sold, but last week the council only granted licences for three of the concerts to go ahead and it was announced on Tuesday that they had all been cancelled.

Fans, residents and promoters are among those who have been reacting to the news.

Aiken Promotions statement

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Image caption Croke Park will not host Garth Brooks later this month

"It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the five-concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park has been cancelled. No concerts will take place.

"The ticket return process will be outlined tomorrow (Wednesday).

"Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event.

"We are very disappointed for the 400,000 fans who purchased tickets."

Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), owner of Croke Park

Image copyright PA
Image caption Garth Brooks came to Croke Park in January to promote his summer concerts

"The GAA shares the intense disappointment of the 400,000 people who have purchased tickets.

"Croke Park Stadium has worked closely with Aiken Promotions in its efforts to stage a unique series of concerts which would have represented an exciting national event and a joyful summer celebration.

"From the outset Croke Park Stadium, as it does with the planning of all events staged in Croke Park, and with a view to avoiding surprise late difficulties, engaged fully with Dublin City Council officials and addressed comprehensively every issue presented during this planning process. At no stage were we given any indication that a licence was likely to be refused for any of the five concerts.

"The GAA has made clear its acceptance of mediator Kieran Mulvey's report on the long-term management of concerts and special events in Croke Park. We wish to acknowledge Mr Mulvey's exceptional efforts over the past few days to resolve the issues raised by the refusal of a licence for the fourth and fifth concerts.

"The GAA is very encouraged by the emergence in recent days of groups of residents in the Croke Park area who share our wish for a positive continuing engagement with the Croke Park Stadium; we look forward to working with them on the recommendations of the Mulvey Report."

Andrea Joy, fan who had bought 14 tickets for two concerts

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"I'm absolutely devastated, no words can describe how I feel.

"Tickets for those other two concerts shouldn't have been sold to start off with.

"The stages aren't customised for any other venue in Dublin to hold those concerts, so there's no other choice but to give people a refund.

"I'd hoped to travel from Armagh, and I'd booked a hotel room at 280 euros but I don't think I'll get my money back - they wouldn't be able to sell the room at that price now the concert's not going ahead.

"I'm hurt but I'll always be a fan."

Ann Thompson, fan who bought 12 tickets with a friend

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Media captionAnn Thompson said the decision to cancel all five concerts left her 'devastated'

Residents spokesman Colm Stephens

"The people that I represent didn't want these concerts to go ahead but we take no pleasure in the cancellation of them because a lot of people who had tickets will be disappointed.

"We can't carry on like this where somebody announces a concert, gathers in millions of euros six months in advance with no guarantee that the concert is going ahead and only at the last minute apply for a licence.

"We need to change the legislation so that you can't sell tickets without a licence, and the GAA needs to talk to us before planning such an event."

Adrian Cummins, Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive

Image caption Many people camped overnight to try to get tickets

"The breakdown in communication between organisations in the Garth Brooks fiasco has the potential to damage Brand Ireland abroad, but also tourism businesses internally.

"This fiasco tarnishes Brand Ireland's image as a destination to host large international music, sporting and cultural events.

"The cancellation of all five concerts in July will tarnish the image of Ireland as a tourist destination to overseas visitors, and disrupts the travel plans of thousands of concert-goers who have already booked flights, hotels and tours.

"It is estimated that the five concerts would have generated up to 50m euros in revenue for the state. If all five nights are cancelled, the loss to the restaurant industry in Ireland is expected to be around 15m euros."

Donall O'Keeffe, Licensed Vintners Association

"All the parties involved in this mess, including the city authorities, have mishandled this matter from start to finish.

"The whole episode represents a massive financial hit to our members and to the thousands of people whom they employ across the city.

"It has caused huge upset to 400,000 people and serious damage to the reputation of our capital city and undermines our ability to secure future landmark events which are so important to a capital city."

Stephen McNally, Irish Hotels Federation

"The shambolic situation we now find ourselves in with the cancellation of all five concerts is nothing short of a disaster for our tourism industry.

"We have 400,000 people who had planned to visit Dublin now left disappointed - many of whom will stay at home.

"The knock-on effect in terms of reputational damage is extremely negative for Ireland and how we are viewed by potential overseas visitors.

"This situation was entirely avoidable - major events like this cannot be left to chance. The government now needs to ensure that this situation does not arise again and put in place a workable approval process for future concerts and events."

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