Sunday 18 February 2018

City chief fights to save career as Garth Brooks gigs now 'dead in the water'

Niall O'Connor and Joyce Fegan

DUBLIN City Manager Owen Keegan will today fight for his career as organisers of the five planned Garth Brooks concerts conceded that the event is now "dead in the water".

Mr Keegan is under extreme pressure after a senior GAA figure claimed that the council was fully behind all five concerts taking place.

Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna insisted that Mr Keegan told him during a phone conversation that the license for the concerts was facing no risk of being denied.

"I know it's very dramatic, but I would be willing to swear an affidavit and let that here in front of the committee.

"I'm that certain of that telephone conversation," Mr McKenna told an Oireachtas committee this week.

Sources close to the GAA last night confirmed that Mr McKenna is standing by his claims and is taking legal advice on the matter. Mr Keegan has denied any assurance was given.

Mr Keegan has also consulted his lawyers ahead of an unprecedented second Oireachtas appearance in the same week by the head of Ireland's largest local authority.

Meanwhile Ticketmaster yesterday began what it calls the "unprecedented" refund of 400,000 tickets for the gigs.

The refund process began at 9am but a spokesman would not reveal how many of the tickets were refunded yesterday. However, he said anyone who bought the tickets with their credit cards will have their money automatically refunded, but the process will take up to ten business days.

Customers who purchased their tickets through the company's outlets can download a refund form online or pick one up from the outlet. Their money will be refunded once they email or post the the form back along with their ticket.

They are entitled to a full refund, including service charges, which will be processed within 21 days of Ticketmaster receiving the refund form and tickets.

Meanwhile reports that the Communications and Transport Committee were considering a vote of no confidence have been deemed inaccurate, a number of deputies are not ruling out requesting Mr Keegan to resign.

But the impact of his role in the fiasco has severely damaged his relationship with Dublin City councillors. "He will forever be known as the man who stopped the Garth Brooks concerts," said a source.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke last night continued in his efforts to persuade Mr Keegan to allow for a judicial review into the decision, which would be brought by Aiken Promotions.

Mr Burke has pleaded with Mr Keegan to resile from his opposition to the judicial review but he has refused to do so. However, Aiken Promotions has conceded that the gigs are now "dead in the water".

Irish Independent

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