City chief to face fresh grilling over Brooks saga

The Dublin City manager will return to face questions from the Oireachtas Transport Committee today, as the Garth Brooks fallout rumbles on.

Dublin City CEO Owen Keegan was formally asked on Wednesday to come before the committee, having already addressed it on Tuesday in relation to the Croke Park concerts debacle.

The fresh request was triggered by the startling claim made before the committee on Wednesday by Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna that he was assured in a phone call with Mr Keegan in early February that the five concerts were likely to go ahead. However, a statement issued by Dublin City Council on Wednesday denied this.

Mr Keegan is expected to expand on this when the committee meets this afternoon. According to a statement issued by the committee yesterday: “The meeting is intended to give Mr Keegan an opportunity to respond to evidence given to the committee during yesterday’s meeting with representatives from the GAA and Aiken Promotions.”

The committee met privately yesterday to discuss aspects of the Croke Park concerts issue.

News that he would return to face questions came as the refund process finally got under way yesterday. Refunds for the 400,000 tickets sold for the five concerts, scheduled to begin on July 25, are expected to take between seven and 10 working days to complete, with Ticketmaster stating the scale of the operation was “unprecedented”. The process was to begin on Tuesday, but was delayed for two days in the hope a solution could be found that might still allow the concerts to proceed.

Elsewhere, the Brooks concert saga could also prove something of an advertising platform for a Dublin-based web firm which has developed a Chrome plug-in called Garth Blocks, which does exactly that — blocking all references to the country superstar on the internet.

The programme was launched by EightyTwenty on Wednesday and by yesterday morning more than 1,000 people had visited the chrome store to look at it.

Cathal Gillen of EightyTwenty said it was too early to check on the number of actual downloads but admitted: “Honestly, it is a bit of a joke as much as anything else.”

The programme is based on open source code developed in America which carried out a similar function regarding mentions of singer Justin Bieber.

EightyTwenty do not expect to make any money on Garth Block and Cathal Gillen said, if anything, mentions of the programme was adding “fuel to the fire” when it came to repeated references to the singer.

Pay to play

By Gordon Deegan

-Gardaí earned over €12.79m from policing concerts, sporting fixtures and other events over the past three and a half years.

-Information provided by Minister Fitzgerald to Sean Fleming (FF) show the three most lucrative events this year were the three One Direction concerts at Croke Park. The other two were the Marlay Park concerts.

-Payments this year total €1.73m: €328,154 to police concerts, €702,832 for sporting fixtures and €705,704 on other events.

-Last year, gardaí earned €2.869m: €972,856 earned from sporting fixtures, €1m from concerts andfestivals and €887,190 from other events.

-Along with the National Ploughing Championships, Oxegen, Slane I and II and the Electric Picnic were the most lucrative in 2013.


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