Sunday 11 December 2016

Council misses out on €75,000 as gig called off

Gordon Deegan

Published 02/11/2011 | 05:00

Clare County Council lost out on €75,000 as a result of Michael Flatley's 'Lord of the Dance' not going ahead at the Cliffs of Moher in September.

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According to documents released through the Freedom Of Information Act, the council was set to receive €75,000 from the promoters, MPO Promotions, after the concert.

In the run-up to the concert, the council provided an additional €50,000 in financial support to the doomed project.

However, the documents showed that as far back as March, the local authority had concerns over the planned concert before it paid over the remaining €40,000 of the €50,000 to MPO Promotions.

In a letter to Oliver O'Connell of MPO Promotions on March 10, senior council official Ger Dollard wrote: "I am extremely concerned regarding the short time-window which we have available for organising what is a very significant event with very detailed logistical requirements."

Mr O'Connell told Mr Dollard by letter on February 14 that "MPO Promotions Ltd is confident that the 'Lord of the Dance' at the Cliffs of Moher will be sold out by Easter 2011".

However, three months after Mr Dollard's March letter, Mr O'Connell admitted that the absence of credit and having to pay up-front "has completely drained our own resources".

Imploring a more proactive approach from the council, Mr O'Connell wrote: "These next couple of weeks are critical for all of us and we will not be thanked if we fail to capitalise on probably the greatest opportunity ever in Co Clare."

By that time, Mr O'Connell said that he had spent €110,000 on the project and that there was around €130,000 sitting in the Ticketmaster account from ticket sales.

After confirming the cancellation in August, Mr O'Connell said that MPO had spent €200,000 on the failed venture.

Mr Dollard yesterday defended the council investing a further €40,000 in spite of concerns over the plan.

Concerns

He said: "The council's concerns of March 2011 were fully allayed and we had no difficulty proceeding with the terms of our memo of understanding."

Mr Dollard said that the council was fully satisfied when a very professional technical team was engaged and this team delivered a first-class plan.

He added: "The investment of €50,000 by the council was directly linked to the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign and again we were more than pleased with the marketing return on that investment. This return has also reflected itself in the 12pc increase in visitor numbers."

Irish Independent

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