Saturday 14 December 2019

Blow for Brooks fans with new bid to block remaining concerts

Tim Healy and Joyce Fegan

Legal proceedings over the remaining three Garth Brooks concerts in Croke Park have been formally lodged in the High Court, dealing a further blow to fans of the country singer.

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 at the GAA's Croke Park.

The papers were lodged hours before Dublin City Councillors voted narrowly in favour of reviewing the conditions of the licence to allow for all five concerts to go ahead.

However, the councillors also voted for alternative venues to be explored – including the Aviva Stadium and the Phoenix Park – effectively conceding there is nothing they can do about the licensing decision which was made last week. The motions were passed as a ship carrying the country singer's stage was making its way to Ireland.

The injunction proceedings 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 Pairc an Chrocaigh 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 extra gigs was refused by the council.

It is expected that the application before the High Court may be made either today or later this week.

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

However, despite high level talks taking place between Aiken Promotions, the GAA, mediator Kieran Mulvey and Lord Mayor Christy Burke, there is no resolution to the fiasco yet as Dublin City CEO Owen Keegan said there is no way he can go back on his decision that only granted licences for three of the five gigs.

Mr Burke had already offered Aiken Promotions the Aviva as an alternative venue but was told that it was not an option due to various logistical reasons.

"I was in contact with the director of the Aviva (Martin Murphy) and he offered to facilitate the remaining three concerts or two concerts of Garth Brooks in July," he said.

"There would be an issue around stage move, ticket scanning and seating capacity. That was ruled completely out (by Aiken Promotions and the GAA)."

He said he was told by Aiken that despite the deadlock the stage for the stadium is en route to Ireland.

Last night Dublin City councillors passed two motions asking both Aiken Promotions and the GAA to "immediately" look at the possibility of staging the remaining two concerts within the Phoenix Park or other venues.

The motion, tabled by independent councillors Mannix Flynn and Damian O'Farrell, is aimed at repairing the "city's damaged reputation".

However, the original decision to refuse permission for two gigs can't be overturned.

Mr Keegan, who signed off on the three concerts, said that he cannot in any way go back on his decision but he will file a report to the Department of the Environment, with a possible amendment to planning law.

Last night Aiken Promotions welcomed the vote. It also said that "while council officials may have followed a proper process, we believe that the decision was not correct".

"All of the discussions with council officials in relation to the five concerts was about how the impact of the five concerts might be mitigated. Therefore the decision was a complete shock."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News