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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Leo Varadkar tells Garth Brooks promoters: 'Onus is on you to reschedule or relocate the two cancelled gigs'

Tourism Minister describes cancellations as 'a blow to fans and to visitors coming from abroad'

Geraldine Gittens and Sam Griffin

Published 04/07/2014 | 17:33

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Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has said the onus is on promoters Aitken to reschedule or relocate the cancelled Garth Brooks concerts.

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In a statement today Mr Varadkar described the cancellations as a blow to fans and to visitors coming from abroad.

Dublin City Council has granted licences for only three of the five concerts.

However, Garth Brooks issued a statement last night saying he would do "five shows or none at all". 

This evening, Mr Vardakar said there was a need to review licencing laws for major events.

"The way this happened at the very last minute is clearly unsatisfactory from everyone’s point of view and highlights the need to review the major events licencing laws," he said.

"Nonetheless residents have legitimate concerns about five concerts in a row which the GAA has conceded was a mistake."

“The decision on the licence was made by Dublin City Council and there is no provision in law for it to be appealed or overturned other than by the courts.

He said: “There were only supposed to be three concerts when the tour was first advertised and I see no reason why these should not now proceed. The onus is on the promoters to ensure that two other concerts are rescheduled or relocated.”

Meanwhile, furious Croke Park residents who say they have been misrepresented in the national debate over the cancelled Garth Brooks concerts have called for all five gigs to be reinstated.

Locals in the north Dublin suburb of Ballybough this afternoon held a meeting in protest against the decision to disallow two concerts.

At the highly-charged meeting at the Ballybough Youth Community Centre, members of the Local Residents Supporting Garth Brooks group said the “vast majority” of residents within the one mile exclusion area of Croke Park were in favour of the concerts going ahead.

One of the organiser’s of the meeting, Susan Mangan told Independent.ie: “They say they got over 300 objections to the concerts going ahead. I say we can get double that and more for the number of people who want to see these concerts going ahead.

Other people in attendance said the concerts were hugely important to the local economy and particularly for young people in the area who find work during in and around the stadium during the sell-out gigs.

The group has launched a petition and is holding a protest rally on the Ballybough Road near Croke Park at 2pm on Sunday.

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