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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Protest in Dublin city over cancellation of Garth Brooks Croke Park concerts

Anita McSorley and Joyce Fegan

Published 12/07/2014 | 13:50

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Around 50 Garth Brooks fans took to Dublin city centre today in protest of Dublin City Council’s decision to only grant licences to three out of the original five of the country superstar's gigs at Croke Park.

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Loyal fans of the singer travelled from all over the country to unite for a march through the capital from the GPO to the Dublin City Council offices.

The protest is the latest development in the two week controversy which erupted when Dublin City Council announced the concerts could only go ahead on three of the five nights originally booked.

Leanne O’Hagan cut short her year-long trip to Australia in order to attend the concert.

“I came home from Australia for this concert. I was in Australia for 10 months and I had two and a half months left in Australia and I came home early for this concert.

“We’re protesting over the concerts not being allowed five nights in a row. We think it should be allowed. It’s not Garth Brooks' fault and it’s not the fans fault who bought tickets that were sold without a licence or permission,” said Leanne.

Patricia from Inishmore saw the country music king live twice, including his famous 1997 Croke Park show.

Garth Brooks fan Leah Manning (7) at the protest outside Dail Eireann.  Picture;  GERRY MOONEY.  13/7/14
Garth Brooks fan Leah Manning (7) at the protest outside Dail Eireann. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 13/7/14
Garth Brooks fan Leanne O'Hagan at the protest outside Dail Eireann.  Picture;  GERRY MOONEY.  13/7/14
Garth Brooks fan Leanne O'Hagan at the protest outside Dail Eireann. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 13/7/14
Garth Brooks fans bring their protest to Dail Eireann.  Picture;  GERRY MOONEY.  13/7/14
Garth Brooks fans bring their protest to Dail Eireann. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 13/7/14

“I’m here to try and get the concerts back on because I bought a ticket for it. It’s a disaster. People are saying it’s only a concert, it’s not only that. It gave us something to look forward to with everything going on. We shouldn’t have to do this, because those concerts should be on, whatever else we need that money going into the country.

“I love Garth Brooks. We were in Croke Park in ‘97, that was the second time I saw him and I absolutely adore him. His was just spectacular. He really is a showman. I live in hope,” she said.

Barbara from Crumlin ruled out the suggestion that he could perform matinee shows to make up the five concerts in three days.

“The matinee idea is a farce, what artist in the world could put on a good performance and then go off for an hour or two and then go back on stage and do another good performance. Besides that, how do you get 80,000 people in and out safely in a matter of maybe an hour or two?”

Grainne Gallagher travelled from Longford for the protest.

Garth Brooks fan Lydia Mullane at the protest outside Dail Eireann.  Picture;  GERRY MOONEY.  13/7/14
Garth Brooks fan Lydia Mullane at the protest outside Dail Eireann. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 13/7/14

“I’m a 100 per cent die-hard fan. I’ve been waiting since the last time he was here. I was too young to see him in 97. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that they didn’t grant the licence before they sold everybody their tickets and now we’re left just trying to fight for ourselves just to see the concert” she said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Garth Brooks' management have directly reached out to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a bid to salvage the five Croke Park concerts.

"We have tried to reach out but his immediate camp has not heard anything back yet," said a source close to Brooks last night.

It is understood an email was sent to Mr Kenny in the hope of getting an agreement to allow the five cancelled concerts to take place later this month.

However, late last night, it seemed there had been little movement. "We believe he has a lot on his plate today forming a new government," added the source.

Mr Kenny also received a mobile phone call from Irish country singer Pete Kennedy (pictured), who is based in Nashville.

"I received a very warm reception and I phoned them and explained in detail to them the scale of the situation, and they listened, basically," said Mr Kennedy. "And I asked them to please do everything they possibly can in the interest of our national reputation," he added.

As an award-winning country musician based in Nashville, Mr Kennedy said he felt a responsibility to personally phone the Taoiseach. "In the interest of the Irish music industry and the economy and for us to be able to show the world that we are open, willing and able to facilitate any major event and to be welcoming, I felt a responsibility to call An Taoiseach," Mr Kennedy said.

It is understood that after Mr Kennedy rang Mr Kenny's personal mobile at 5.30pm, he then received a phone call from the Taoiseach's private secretary at 5.55pm. The phone conversation lasted about 15 minutes.

Mr Kennedy also attempted to make contact with the newly appointed Minister for Arts, Heather Humphries, but he was unsuccessful.

It is believed that Garth Brooks is still hopeful that all five concerts can go ahead as scheduled even though it could involve the passing of emergency legislation.

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