City council plan review of concert licensing regime

Cork’s city officials are planning to conduct a full review of their concert licensing regime following the Garth Brooks debacle.

Senior officials have confirmed they plan to examine the city’s rules, procedures and policies on licensing large concerts and outdoor events to identify any improvements that could be made in a bid to avoid a similar situation occurring on Leeside. It is understood that the review will be conducted over the coming months to ensure that any issues which may arise are dealt with before the city’s biggest stadium, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, is revamped.

Aiken Promotions boss Peter Aiken, at the centre of the Brooks concert fiasco, staged the three Bruce Springsteen concerts last year, including one in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. He recently revealed he got the licence for that gig four days before the concert was staged.

Aiken, who is also behind the Live at the Marquee concert series which has been rocking Cork every summer for the last decade, said he believes he could stage at least one large concert every year in the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

But city officials are anxious to ensure the city’s concert and outdoor licensing regime is examined to ensure it stands up to scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Cork South Central Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer has called for a review of the state’s national licensing laws.

Under the current planning laws, events for more than 5,000 people require a licence. The licence application must be lodged with a local authority 16 weeks before an event, and the authority must allow five weeks to pass before making the decision on whether to grant the licence or not.

There is nothing to stop promoters selling tickets before the licence is granted.

“In fact, doing so is probably the norm,” said Mr Buttimer. “The difference is, they got caught out this time round, and consumers are suffering as a result.

“An amendment could be made to the current legislation stipulating that tickets cannot be sold until the licence is granted.

“It would be acceptable for event organisers to promote the concert in advance, but tickets shouldn’t be sold until the licence is in place. Only by changing the system will we ensure that we will avoid a situation in the future where hundreds of thousands of ticket holders are left out of pocket and deeply disappointed.”


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