Northern Ireland

Garth Brooks: All five Croke Park concerts or none at all

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

Garth Brooks has said he wants to put on all five concerts in Dublin or none at all after the city's council refused licences for two of them.

Dublin City Council granted permission for only three out of five Brooks concerts - on 25, 26 and 27 July - at Croke Park this month.

About 400,000 fans have booked tickets.

The organiser of the concerts said he was hopeful but not optimistic that all five would go ahead.

Peter Aiken, from Aiken Promotions, said that those with tickets should "hold fire" on seeking a refund or cancelling travel plans, but that the chances of all five concerts going ahead did not "look very promising".

On Thursday evening, the Press Association reported Brooks as saying: "I can't thank the people of Ireland enough for how welcome they have made me feel.

"I have faith that Dublin City Council will make the best decision for the people of Ireland.

"For us, it is five shows or none at all. To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another."


Mr Aiken said he felt "disbelief" at Dublin City Council's decision but was trying to make sure the concerts went ahead.

"I'm doing everything I can but there's only so much I can do," he said.

"The man himself, Garth, has said, and I support him, that he cannot come and do three shows and not do two.

"I think the police or anybody would applaud that. I think it would be crazy to do three shows.

"The 160,000 people who don't have tickets, what are they supposed to do? They would be devastated."

Mr Aiken dismissed reports the concerts could be staged at a different venue and said: "It's Croke Park or nowhere."

He also said he had never heard of permission being denied to "any other major show in Dublin ever".

In a statement on Thursday, Dublin City Council said: "It would not be appropriate to grant five consecutive nights of concerts."

They said the scale of the concerts was "unprecedented" and would lead to "an unacceptable level of disruption" for residents and businesses near Croke Park.

However, Mr Aiken said he had no indication that the council would reject the five concerts and that the company had followed their usual procedure for applying for the licences.

"The thing people don't understand is, I wouldn't be allowed to put the show on sale unless people said go ahead.

"In every way we went, we did it exactly how we've done every other show in Ireland.

"The deadline for the licence application is 10 weeks. We had it in 14 weeks beforehand.

"Dublin City Council need to know that what we're putting in is safe, that we can get it done in the time that we say.

'Silent majority'

"It would be foolish of them not to put us through a rigorous examination, and they did."

Earlier, some residents near Croke Park started a petition to allow the concerts to go ahead.

Dublin City councillor Gary Gannon, who is from the Croke Park area, said that there was a "silent majority" of residents who are not against the Garth Brooks concerts.

Residents near the GAA stadium had threatened legal action after the initial two concerts were increased to five.

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

However, Mr Gannon said: "Some of those most vocally against these concerts don't live in the area.

"There is no single voice or group who speaks for the area's residents.

"There is a silent majority. Some are indifferent to the concerts, but there are also many who feel disrespected by the GAA.

"They have no sympathy with Croke Park, but they do have sympathy with the thousands of fans who have tickets for these concerts."

Mr Gannon said that residents would let the concerts go ahead if it was followed by the full implementation of the recommendation of mediator Kieran Mulvey.

Last month, Mr Mulvey, from the Labour Relations Commission, produced a report aiming to strike an agreement between the GAA and Croke Park area residents.

He said that in "no circumstances" should four or five consecutive concerts be organised for the venue in future and recommended a 500,000 euro (£396,000) "legacy fund" for the area.

'Not appropriate'

The only way to appeal the Dublin City Council's decision is by going to the courts.

However, Mr Gannon said that "common sense" should allow the concerts to go ahead if the petition is successful.

"These concerts are important for the local and national economy. We're asking for some level of leadership and that people don't make excuses behind legislation."

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny said he hoped a solution would be found but said he would not "interfere in any way".

In a statement on Thursday, Dublin City Council said: "It would not be appropriate to grant five consecutive nights of concerts."

They said the scale of the concerts was "unprecedented" and would lead to "an unacceptable level of disruption" for residents and businesses near Croke Park.

The council also 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.

It is understood to be unlikely that promoters will be able to use an alternative venue, such as the Aviva Stadium, as there is not enough time for a licence application.

The GAA said they "will fully assess the implication" of the announcement and make no further comment before Monday, 7 July.

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