Keegan: Brooks refused to budge over Croker shows

Keegan: Brooks refused to budge over Croker shows

Country music star Garth Brooks refused to budge on his plans for a five-night run of comeback shows in a row with planners over licensing.

In the wake of the singer pulling the plug on any appearance in front of fans in Croke Park, Dublin city council chiefs said they were involved in negotiations on three different options to put on the shows.

As late as yesterday the local authority offered to step in and act as co-promoter for the concerts if Brooks would agree to host three shows at Croke Park and two elsewhere in the capital.

Offers were also discussed on Brooks agreeing to a four-night run, or two matinees and three night-time shows over three days – an idea put forward by promoter Aiken.

Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council chief executive, said nothing has changed in his mind in the two weeks since a licence for a five-night run was refused.

“In all those three cases while the city council demonstrated a capacity and willingness to be flexible there was absolutely no budge, I have to say, from the other side,” he said.

The council said that out of 384 submissions it received from the public and local businesses over whether the five shows should go ahead, 11 people contacted the authority to say they had not made a submission.

US country star Brooks confirmed last night it would be a no-show in Ireland after failing to get the council to reverse its decision limiting the concerts to three days.

Mr Keegan and other council chiefs are before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications to discuss the scuppered plan for the comeback.

The chief executive said “the damage was done” when the tickets were sold in January.

Mr Keegan said no verbal assurances were given to the promoters about a five-night run before a licence application was received on April 17 or processed by July 3.

On the contrary, he told the committee, Aiken Promotions had been made aware informally that a five-night run was a “big ask”.

The council chiefs said the series of shows would have been unprecedented at Croke Park and there were serious concerns about the impact of limited access for residents, illegal parking, anti-social behaviour and noise issues.

Brooks said last night he was crushed and heartbroken over the scuppered plans for the shows.

Some 400,000 fans, many from outside Ireland, will now be refunded over the next three weeks.

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