Labour peacemaker called in to mediate Garth Brooks row
THE GAA has called in the country's top labour relations troubleshooter to chair negotiations with residents living around Croke Park.
Kieran Mulvey, who is chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), has been asked to intervene in a row which stems from the decision to hold five Garth Brooks and three One Direction concerts at the stadium this summer.
Local residents have threatened to take legal action if the GAA secures the licences to stage the eight concerts.
The dispute centres upon a written agreement in 2009, where it was decided that no more than three concerts a year were to be held at the stadium.
The emergence of plans to stage the One Direction concerts in May and the Garth Brooks concerts in July led to threats of legal action.
After holding an initial meeting with residents and local politicians last month, GAA bosses decided to draft in Mr Mulvey. His appointment was described last night as a "significant step forward" by Dublin city councillor Nial Ring.
Mr Mulvey was previously tasked with mediating the infamous Cork GAA dispute in 2008, which at one stage threatened to spiral into an all-out strike.
The players had refused to take part in training due to a row over whether the manager would be allowed to choose his own selectors.
Mr Mulvey managed to broker a peace deal. He was subsequently appointed chairman of the Irish Sports Council.
However, Mr Mulvey will have a tough task securing a resolution between the GAA and residents, who have already threatened to seek an injunction to stop the concerts.
It is understood that his role as mediator will span beyond these particular concerts and will also involve securing the agreement of a 'charter' between the relevant parties.
In an email to politicians in the Dublin Central area, seen by the Irish Independent, the GAA states that Mr Mulvey's terms of reference will be agreed shortly.
"We are determined to reach a long-term agreement around the staging of events in Croke Park," according to GAA Director General Paraic Duffy.
"I can confirm that Kieran Mulvey, chief executive at the Labour Relations Commission, has agreed to chair discussions on this issue.
"Kieran will be assisted by Senan Turnbull, a local resident with experience in community relations. Both will join the meeting next Tuesday when we will discuss terms of reference and a proposed timeline to complete this process," he added.
The GAA has announced that it will hold a public information forum on the upcoming concerts on March 29, and has pledged to survey 27,000 residents about the impact of the concerts.
Independent councillor Ring said he believed the measures could be "crucial" to securing a long-term agreement between residents and the GAA.