Friday 24 May 2019

Fresh legal challenge to stop ALL the Garth Brooks concerts

Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks

Tim Healy & Louise Kelly & Nicola Anderson

LEGAL proceedings over the Garth Brooks concerts in Croke Park were formally lodged in the High Court today.

The injunction proceedings by one of the residents are aimed at preventing any of the shows, which have been scheduled for later this month, from going ahead.

They are being brought in the name of Brian Duff, whose solicitor is named as Anthony Fay, the solicitor acting for some residents of Croke Park.

The case is against Aiken Promotions (Ireland) Ltd and Páirc an Chrócaigh Teoranta (Croke Park Ltd).

The orders sought include injunctions preventing the holding of the three shows which had secured approval from Dublin City Council.  Permission for two additional gigs was refused by the Council.

No further details of the proceedings are available to date but the filing of the documents in the High Court Central Office suggests an application may be made either tomorrow or later this week.

Head of Croke Park Streets Committee Eamon O’Brien released statement confirmed that "a resident living in the Croke Park vicinity" instructed Fay and Company solicitors to commence legal proceedings against the concert promoter and Croke Park stadium. 

"These concerts were arranged without any prior consultation, 400,000 tickets sold without a license and motivated by corporate greed," he said.

"They would greatly interfere with this person and the local communities quality of life including their privacy and property rights."

"It is also not appropriate for politicians to be intervening in licensing decisions taken by Dublin City Council. The last refuge of the citizen is the courts which is clearly the case here," he added.

Mr O'Brien also requested that the privacy of the resident be respected.

The development comes amid speculation that moves were underway to try and secure an agreement that would see three Garth Brooks gigs going ahead this month with two more to be staged next year.

The singer said last week he would perform the five concerts, for which 400,000 tickets have been sold, or none at all.

Tonight, Dublin City Councillors voted narrowly in favour of reviewing the conditions of the Garth Brooks licence to allow for all five concerts to go ahead.

They also voted for alternative venues to be explored – including the Aviva stadium and the Phoenix Park.

A Sinn Fein motion tonight calling on the conditions of the licence to be reviewed saw 27 councillors vote against, with 28 in favour and five abstentions.

However a Fianna Fail motion calling on the city manager saw 26 councillors vote in favour and 26 against and with five abstentions – but the final vote of the Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke saw the motion defeated.

The City Council meeting, which was screened live on the internet saw a lively debate between councillors on the issue, with Mannix Flynn (IND) saying that Ireland’s international reputation was “in tatters” as a result of the debacle.

However this was rejected by Cllr John Lyons (LAB) who said the council should not let it be bullied.

“We can’t be bullied….by Garth Brooks? Seriously,” he said.

Former Lord Mayor Naoise Murray also dismissed claims that the affair had damaged the city’s reputation, saying: “Talk to anyone in Nashville…he hasn’t been in the limelight in years.”

He said the message should go out to Garth Brooks that he should play the three concerts if he’s serious about his Irish fans.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said he had been working around the clock over the weekend to try and resolve the issue with officials and also with Aiken, the promoters.

He had been told by Peter Aiken that a ship carrying vital stage equipment “leaves tonight,” repeating that if the five concerts were not to be held, there would be none at all.

The Mayor said there needed to be a change to the planning laws for such events, describing them as old-fashioned, outdated and unfair.”

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council (DCC) Chief Executive, Owen Keegan released a media statement at this evening's plenary City Council Meeting at City Hall.

The statement outlined the Council's event licensing procedure, the application for the Garth Brooks concerts and the reasoning behind the Council's decision.

"It was considered reasonable and appropriate that three of the events should take place and these have been licensed for the nights of Friday 25 July 2014, Saturday 26July 2014 and Sunday 27 of July 2014 subject to conditions," read the statement.

On behalf of the DCC, Mr Keegan said that he hoped Garth Brooks would "avail of the licence that has been granted and plays the three shows."

"Of course the City Council has sympathy for those ticket holders who purchased tickets for the shows on Monday and Tuesday and would hope that these two shows could be facilitated at some stage in the future."

The DCC welcomes the opportunity to discuss, in the future, changes to the event licensing system, including a possible restriction on the sale of tickets in advance of a similar license issue, read the statement.

But it clarified: "Dublin City Council has been consistent (since it became aware that tickets were being sold for five concerts) in informing the promoter and his agents that its main concern was the impact that five consecutive concerts would have on the local area."

Aiken Promotions welcomed the decision of the City Council to support the motion to ask the City Manager to reconsider his position on granting permission for all five Garth Brooks concerts.

But in a statement issued tonight, the promoter maintained that it followed "the process as laid down under the event licencing procedure" but that the licence decision by council officials was "a shock" and "not correct".

"If Aiken Promotions have been ‘reckless’, then the process itself is ‘reckless’ and any perceived ‘recklessness’ by Aiken Promotions must equally apply to a Council that did not advise Aiken Promotions not to proceed with the five concerts when they were informed. Comments such as ‘reckless behaviour’ besmirch the reputation of a company that for 53 years have made a significant contribution to the culture and economy of Ireland."

The statement from Aiken also comments that Garth Brooks response to the licence for the three rather than the five concerts "was not an ultimatum, it was simply an expression of genuine concern for his fans".

"The complete misrepresentation of Garth Brooks as a person and as an artist is ill informed and is scandalous."

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