Tuesday 23 January 2018

Gardai probe claim of fake Brooks gig complaints

Garth Brooks: sell-out concerts at Croke Park. Getty Images
Garth Brooks: sell-out concerts at Croke Park. Getty Images

Claire McCormack

DUBLIN'S Lord Mayor is shocked by claims that bogus names were signed on letters objecting to the five Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park.

Gardai are investigating a complaint from Dublin City Council that "a small number" of objections were "forged".

Cllr Christy Burke said he would be surprised if there were any irregularities attached to any petition regarding the issue.

"In my dealings on any issues surrounding Croke Park and Clonliffe Road residents, they have always been very professional, very dignified and very honest," said Cllr Burke.

"And if that did happen it would be a terrible insult to the decent men and women in that area who are trying to the best for their little communities, particularly those in the cordoned off areas," he said.

However Cllr Burke also said that if there are discrepancies gardai have a right to look into it. "It would be a shame because these men and women in those areas have for years been doing their best to try and get a standard quality of life," he said. "So anything of that nature, if there are irregularities and if it was fraudulent it certainly doesn't go down with me."

It is believed that council officials raised the issue after noticing similarities in the handwriting of names and addresses on some of the template petition letters and decided to alert Mountjoy Garda Station, which oversees the Croke Park area.

It is also understood that a number of follow-up phone calls to residents confirmed that they did not sign the objection letters their names appeared on.

Pat Gates of the Clonliffe and Croke Park Area Residents Association said that he too was unaware of the allegations and that the DCC are being distracted by the complaint.

"I think it's a bit of a red herring," Mr Gates told the Irish Independent.

"All the letters that we submitted were absolutely legitimate. I couldn't tell you how many we submitted but we did one collectively as a residents association, I did one personally and I know other people submitted their own as part of a residents association," he said.

Mr Gates, who lives behind Croke Park's Cusack Stand, said that a generic letter was also emailed around for residents to sign and send to the council.

"It seems to me that the city council is becoming distracted rather than taking into account the serious issues that the residents are raising and actually addressing them in a meaningful way."

An estimated 370 objections were lodged with Dublin City Council and it is understood that gardai are now examining the signatures on letters.

Irish Independent

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