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Kenny's adviser made 'Garthgate' call to DCC

The top civil servant in Enda Kenny's department called Dublin City Council (DCC) chief executive Owen Keegan at the height of the 'Garthgate' controversy.

Martin Fraser called Mr Keegan on July 10 - the day Garth Brooks (inset) gave a press conference in Nashville confirming he would play five concerts or none at all at Croke Park.

It was also the day mediator Kieran Mulvey met with Mr Keegan, Aiken Promotions and Lord Mayor Christy Burke to try to break the impasse.

Following the phone call from the secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach, the council chief's office sent an email to Mr Fraser on July 10, a Freedom of Information request shows.

permission

Attached was a letter to Mr Burke in which Mr Keegan restated the local authority's position that "it would only be appropriate to grant permission for three of the five concerts".

"If the integrity of the planning system is to be maintained, it is important that the interests of no single individual or organisation, no matter how cherished a place they occupy in the hearts of the nation, are allowed to subvert that system," he added.

Mr Keegan said the "genuine concerns" of local residents - who complained five concerts would cause unfair disruption to their lives - "cannot now be disregarded".

He sincerely hoped Brooks would perform the three permitted concerts, he added.

staged

The solution to the issue of the two gigs that were not permitted was for them to be staged in Croke Park in 2015 or in the Aviva later in 2014, he pointed out. Later in the day, Mr Keegan sent an email to recipients including Mr Fraser with a draft statement saying the city council had agreed to a proposal to stage two matinee concerts on top of the three permitted gigs over three days.

However, Brooks reiterated he would play over five 
consecutive nights or not at all, leaving the proposal on the scrap heap.

Some 400,000 tickets were sold for the events.

comurphy@herald.ie


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