Brooks may becalled to appear at Oireachtas panel

Garth Brooks could be called before an Oireachtas committee to explain his no-show at Croke Park, it has emerged.

As the Dáil’s tourism committee holds an impromptu hearing into the affair tomorrow, the body’s chairperson said it would consider inviting the country star to appear via video link. “We will be looking into that,” Fine Gael chairperson John O’Mahony said. The committee is to hear evidence on the Croke Park concert controversy from the GAA and promoter Peter Aiken.

Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan, who vetoed the request to hold five shows at Croke Park, has also been invited to appear.

The intervention by the tourism committee came after Taoiseach, Enda Kenny ruled out stepping into the row with emergency legislation. But Mr Kenny told TDs he had asked Environment Minister, Phil Hogan to examine what can be learned from the affair after it was estimated that the failure of the concerts to go ahead could cost the Dublin region €50m, and damage Ireland’s international reputation as an entertainment and sporting venue.

Mr Kenny said that the absence of an appeals process for such decisions was an area he wanted looked at. The Taoiseach rejected pleas from Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin to rush through his party’s emergency legislation intended to rescue the Brooks’ shows.

The Taoiseach said the Government would be accused of “heavy handedness” if it brought in emergency laws to deal with the Brooks situation.

Branding the cancellation of the shows a “mess” and a “bitter economic lesson that has been learned”, Mr Kenny said public consultation would still be needed for new legislation and there was not enough time before the concerts had been due to take place.

“It’s a major loss to the country, to the goodwill and good feeling of all those fans ... that this is lost, not to mention the hard economic loss to people here. It’s a mess. “Dublin City Council made its decision in accordance with the current planning regulations. And I suppose were government to attempt to say there were three concerts already — for One Direction — and now you want five for another artist outside the agreed parameters, government would certainly be accused of coming the heavy on an issue like this,” Mr Kenny told TDs.

Mr Martin lamented the economic opportunities lost due to the cancellation.

“Many... simply can’t believe the country can almost nonchalantly say we don’t need [the economic benefits].”

Aiken was ‘blindsided’

As fans began seeking refunds for Garth Brooks tickets yesterday, the promoter of the doomed five-night run said he felt “blindsided” by the fiasco.

Speaking on Red FM, Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions said: “I still feel 100% that I was blindsided on this.” He said it should have been “flagged, in full” at an earlier stage that five concerts were unlikely to be licensed.

A ship carrying heavy duty equipment for the gigs had been due to cross the Atlantic, with work due to get under way this Sunday on preparing Croke Park for the shows.

Those who bought tickets online or by phone will automatically be refunded, while those who purchased through Ticketmaster outlets are asked to send in a refund form. Tickets can also be returned to ticket centres from next Tuesday.

However, those who bought from a private seller do not have the same rights.


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