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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Locals vent anger as sixth Garth gig on cards

Brian Byrne and Emma Jane Hade

Published 07/02/2014 | 02:30

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06/02/2014 Garth Brooks fan Christine Doherty Donegal after queueing for tickets outside Stephens Green Shopping Centre, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Garth Brooks fan Christine Doherty from Donegal after queueing for tickets outside Stephens Green Shopping Centre, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

ORGANISERS have refused to rule out the possibility of a sixth Garth Brooks concert this summer.

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Hopes are now rising that an unprecedented sixth concert by the US star could take place in Croke Park after two additional dates sold out in record time.

Yesterday morning, tickets for a fourth concert went on sale and were snapped up immediately – and the addition of a fifth date saw the same buying frenzy from eager fans.

Last night a spokesperson for Aiken Promotions said they had "no comment" to make on rumours of a sixth gig by the Oklahoma singing legend.

But sources said that it has been "neither ruled in or out" as the venue is available, as is Brooks, who is only playing in Ireland this summer.

Thousands of fans queued overnight on Wednesday as tickets for the fourth gig went on sale at 9am. They sold out in just 29 minutes, after which promoters announced a further gig for Tuesday, July 29, which has also sold out.

However, Croke Park has yet to ask authorities for permission to host any of Brooks' five summer concerts, the Irish Independent has learned.

Residents in the Drumcondra area of Dublin must now endure a total of eight summer concerts, including three One Direction dates.

However, Dublin City Council last night confirmed that while the GAA headquarters is permitted to host three concerts per year through the 1993 planning permission granted during its redevelopment, additional concerts must be sought through a public event licence.

The council said it had "not received a public event licence application for the proposed Garth Brooks' concerts to date".

Organisers have up until 10 weeks prior to the event to apply for the licence, and any input from third parties is accepted five weeks after the application is made.

Meanwhile, disgruntled residents in the Croke Park vicinity said they were not consulted by concert organisers over the extra dates added, and that they did not expect to receive any form of compensation.

Residents must enter a raffle for the chance to win tickets to concerts at the GAA stadium, but one resident complained that there were simply too few tickets going and too many names in the pot.

Sean McCabe (50), who lives on Fitzroy Avenue, situated across the street from the stadium's main entrance, claimed: "The database covers too large an area, from Marino to Glasnevin, the entire north side of the city, thousands of homes."

Others said that traffic disruption was the biggest issue that they were dreading.

While drivers in the area are provided with passes to gain entry to roads cordoned off during events, residents who do not own cars said they are often stopped by gardai as they attempt to return home, and asked to identify themselves.

Gillian Dunne (31), who lives on Fitzroy Avenue with her seven-year-old daughter, said that concert-goers had engaged in anti-social behaviour outside and near her home.

"I dread the concerts, because my daughter gets kept awake all night. People come by drinking; my door has been kicked in. There's litter everywhere, they put cigarette boxes and junk through the letter box," she said.

Local businesses were at odds as to how the concert will affect them.

Conor English, of Phoenix Tyres, adjacent to Croke Park, said his business can only remain open for half days.

"We can only open for a half day, and then the roads are closed off. We still have to pay our staff," Mr English said.

But Kieran Tully, a staff member of The Hogan Stand pub, compared the upcoming concerts to "having five All-Irelands all at once".

Croke Park management said it was working with Aiken Promotions and local residents to identify "a specific legacy initiative" for the community.

Irish Independent

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