Monday 24 November 2014

'Save this country from a complete shambles...' - plea from Garth fans to Enda

Taoiseach was sent 'more than 1,000 emails' over Garth Brooks concerts

Published 12/08/2014 | 17:49

Garth Brooks in Croke Park

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny received 1,000 emails from members of the public about the recent Garth Brooks controversy.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act to TV3 News show that large numbers of fans got in touch with Mr Kenny, begging him to intervene.

In one email, a fan writes: "I want to ask you to do something to save this country from a complete shambles.  The chance is there and you need to grab it…. We listened to you when you were begging for votes and granted your wish, now it's time for you to pay us back." 

Another member of the public writes: "I would argue that the morale of the country is at risk here…. I would call on you as Taoiseach to do everything in your power to make an exception for these concerts."

A further email reads: "I am writing to you in desperation to ask you to intervene in this disaster… you can't stand idly by and let it fall away… Think about the emotional lift that this will give the country". 

And another fan wrote: "By changing this law it would bring great happiness to many and the country as a whole…"

At his press conference in Nashville last month Garth Brooks said he'd get down on his hands and knees to beg the Taoiseach to allow him perform his five gigs. The country music star never came to Ireland but his fans have been doing plenty of begging on his behalf. TV3 News can reveal that Taoiseach Enda Kenny received one thousand emails from members of the public and they've been released to TV3 News under the Freedom of Information Act.

But not all the emails are in favour of the concerts, one member of the public wrote: "This Brooks debacle began as amusing but has quickly descended into an embarrassment.  Why on EARTH is the office of An Taoiseach getting involved? The planning laws were breached by Croke Park, Mr Brooks and Aiken Promotions. End of Story."

It's normal for the Taoiseach's office to be contacted about topical issues but it is unusual to get one thousand emails about something in such a short space of time.

In replies from his office, the Taoiseach agrees with some of the concerns raised, writing: "…this issue has not been handled well by the stakeholders involved… The cancellation of these concerts is a loss to this country not only in terms of the impact on the goodwill of Garth Brooks fans but also for the economy." 

But the reply goes on to say that it's not open to the Taoiseach to intervene in planning matters and that the Minister for the Environment has been asked to examine to the concert licencing system to prevent such problems ever arising again.

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