News Comment

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Carol Hunt: Sorry Garth fans, justice was served for this Croker local

Published 04/07/2014 | 23:37

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NORMAN, OK - JULY 06:  Garth Brooks performs during the Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert to benefit United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Norman, Oklahoma. To donate go to www.unitedwayokc.org or text REBUILD to 52000.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Shock Ink)
NORMAN, OK - JULY 06: Garth Brooks performs during the Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert to benefit United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Norman, Oklahoma. To donate go to www.unitedwayokc.org or text REBUILD to 52000. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Shock Ink)

First of all let me say that my heart goes out to you. It does. Really and truly.

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All you poor Garth Brooks fans who have tickets for the Monday and Tuesday nights, it's just not fair is it?

You thought you'd missed out on the first three gigs and they announced a fourth and fifth and you were only delighted, weren't you?

Everything was all arranged, your mammy was taking the kids, the overpriced hotel had been booked and you were hoping to get a bit of shopping done as well.

It was going to be the highlight of your summer, wasn't it? And then those nasty, self-serving, local residents went and ruined it all. With a bit of help from the City Council.

How dare they! "So, who died and made the local residents the sole arbitrators of what the rest of us can do?" asked the editor of a well-known religious 
publication on Twitter yesterday.

He wasn't the only one. Up and down the country, and more importantly, talking to Joe on Liveline, people were expressing their outrage at small group of unreasonable people who had knowingly bought a home beside a huge stadium.

complain

Well, I'm one of them. Yes, I have lived both inside and just outside the inner cordon that cuts residents off from the rest of the world during concert time at Croke Park. I know, how dare I complain.

We bought our home around that time that Croke Park was being redeveloped and An Bord Pleanala had given it licence for three extra "special events" each year.

We had heard that there was a virtual "lock-down" on residents during these periods but we didn't really believe that we could be stopped from getting to or leaving our homes, that it would be completely different to when matches are on (which are great).

And yet we were. Cars can't get through. You have to get out and walk to your home even if it's dark, you have two sleeping kids and it's pouring rain (which happened to me).

People can't visit you. Children's parties and family dinners have to be cancelled. Private security firms tell you where you can and cannot walk. And they often aren't very polite about it.

All this is just about bearable for a few days but five days plus the get-in and out would have meant that local residents, many elderly and infirm, would be housebound - with no visitors - for over a week.

Tough, says you. Aiken Promotions sold us tickets for concerts and a deal's a deal, isn't it?

Exactly, a deal is a deal. And the deal was that three concerts could be held in Croker every year. The GAA knew this and yet went ahead and booked nine. Without a word to the locals. Or a licence.

If the city manager had not said the equivalent of "here lads, you're taking the p*** but we'll let you have six instead of the three you're allowed", the rule of law would have become a joke.

Why not let any private corporation take over the city whenever they wish? Sure, why don't we rent out the whole country while we're at it?

And so while I do feel very, very sorry for the people who booked tickets and I hope something can be worked out, I have to say that justice was served.

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