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Croke Park becomes ‘a nightclub with 80,000 people plonked in a residential area’ during concert season – locals

Residents raise concerns at ‘frank discussion’ about the impact of concerts planned for Croke Park


Garth Brooks pictured at Croke Park

Garth Brooks pictured at Croke Park

Garth Brooks pictured at Croke Park

Concerts at Croke Park become “a nightclub with 80,000 people plonked in the middle of a residential area”, a residents’ association representative said this morning.

A meeting which was held at the National Handball stadium last night sought to ease tensions between local residents and the stadium’s management over plans to hold additional concerts there next year.

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Under current plans, Garth Brooks is expected to play three concerts in Croke Park, on September 9, 10 and 11, 2022.

An application for two more dates, on September 16 and 17, 2022, has also been received by the Dublin City Council.

Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran will play two nights next April.

Colm Stephen, who represents the Clonliffe & Croke Park Area Residents Association (C&CPARA), told Newstalk Breakfast his concerns were not allayed by the meeting.

“We stand in exactly the same place as we stood before. As I look back through the list of concerts that have been held in Croke Park over the previous years, we stand in the same place as we stood every time Croke Park says they want to put on more than three concerts in one calendar year.”

Mr Stephens said people who do not live in the area cannot understand the burden which is placed on residents when concerts take place in Croke Park.

He described the events as a “nightclub with 80,000 people plonked” in the middle of a residential area.

Mr Stephens said the events cause major disruption for people living in the area and added that while some businesses benefit from the events, others say they must close early when concerts are held at the stadium.

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The meeting was also told that the “GAA is broke”.

Mr Stephens said the comments which were made by a top Croke Park official and were greeted with laughter at last night’s meeting.

Following last night’s meeting a working group was established made up of representatives from the local community and concert stakeholders.

Noeline Blackwell, independent chair of Croke Park community meetings, said there was “a frank discussion” involving all parties at last night’s meeting.

It “ended with a renewed commitment to build on the dialogue of the evening. A special working group in relation to the 2022 concerts in the stadium will be established to continue the direct engagement between Croke Park, Aiken Promotions, other stakeholders and the local community,” she added.

While there has yet to be an official announcement about the Garth Brooks concert plans, Croke Park invited local residents living in the stadium’s 1.5km community area to attend the special local community meeting starting at 7pm in the new handball and community centre on Sackville Avenue.

It offered residents “an opportunity for you to meet in person with senior management from the stadium and Aiken Promotions to specifically learn more from them about stadium concert planning for next year.”

A resident on his way in, who did not want to be named, told Independent.ie: "I live probably a little over a kilometre from the park. I am outside the cordon when matches are on. But parking is a huge problem in our area.

"I have no problem with three concerts taking place, but why can't it be spread around. Why can't they have concerts in other parts or other venues instead of all in the one location?"

He said he had no issue with matches, but "concerts get too much time, after time. You could put up with it now and again."

Also attending the meeting, Dublin Independent councillor Nial Ring said this time round, the promoter and the GAA have engaged very early on, around "a year before the Garth Brooks proposed concerts."

He said he would hope the GAA, and the various parties would listen.

"There are fears, there are anxieties, there are various side issues, and hopefully they listen, and if they listen and can come to an agreement, I think that would be terrific. "

Mr Ring said he believed "this could be a further boost for the area, bringing a lot of jobs, a lot of buzz around the area, for local pubs, clubs, shops, hotels making a few bob.”

"Maybe it is something that we can actually do, and it's really down to the community and if their fears can be allayed and the communication can be as good as hopefully it's going to start this evening, well hopefully we can get a positive result."

He said the fact that the proposed concerts would take place over two weekends may help.

"But we will see. This is what we are here to discuss and that is why it is great to see this engagement with the various stakeholders.

"But ultimately, this will be a decision of the community."

Local resident Susan Mangan who lives on the Ballybough Road, was in favour of the Garth Brooks concerts back in 2014, and is still in favour of them happening today.

She believed it would provide "a much needed boost for the economy around the area," pointing out he is a world famous superstar.

"I think it brings a lot of good. A lot of local people are employed by Croke Park and five nights of concerts put on here, is five nights of work for local people.

"I think five nights out of the year is not a lot to put up with. We have had two years of no concerts here, we are coming out of a very dark time with Covid. This is something positive for the community, for the local businesses."

She said there can be parking issues but when it comes to disruption "but there is constant movement.”

"We do have things in place with the gardaI and traffic control. Everything is moving and it does work okay. Not saying it can't be improved, but that is what tonight is about. Sitting down and putting the issues across and hopefully having them sorted."

Physiotherapist Tracy Lowry who lives right beside Croke Park was also in favour of the concerts going ahead.

Ms Lowry pointed out that the concerts would bring employment to the area, in that two week period.

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