Claim Keegan said five shows would be okay

Dublin City manager Owen Keegan has been asked to return before an Oireachtas committee today to respond to claims by the stadium director at Croke Park that he was personally told by Mr Keegan that five shows would be allowed.

Peter McKenna told a stunned Oireachtas Transport Committee that he was prepared to swear an affidavit that he received a call from Mr Keegan in early February in which he was told the concerts would go ahead, and that the call was witnessed by one of his colleagues who was in his office at the time.

He said he was “ecstatic” at the news, and was so sure of the five concerts being permitted that he went on holidays at the time when the announcement was finally made.

“There was not a hint or whit that the application would not be given,” he said.

“I know it’s very dramatic, but I would be very happy to swear an affidavit and leave it here before this committee.”

The claim prompted the council to issue a statement refuting the claim, and the committee to issue an invitation to Mr Keegan to return before it today to respond. The committee intends to meet in any event to discuss the latest developments in the saga.

Earlier, GAA director general Paraic Duffy, said Mr Keegan had advised Mr McKenna in the phone call that DCC would support the licence application for all five concerts and asked Mr McKenna to “make it as easy as possible” by making the three 1 Direction concerts — which took place in May — run smoothly. Mr McKenna said they would be held in an “exemplary manner” and after the concerts just three complaints were received — something Mr Duffy said was “unprecedented.”

It is understood following the meeting, some members of the Dáil committee visited Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, and in a private capacity raised some of the issues heard during the meeting, as well as urging a fresh approach to resurrecting the concerts.

Mr Duffy had said the Brooks concerts would have been a “national celebration” and that the decision to not allow all five to proceed was “incomprehensible,” “undemocratic” and a “self-inflicted wound on the country.”

Promoter Jim Aiken, who also spoke before the committee, revealed that the show could still go on if an uncontested judicial review went ahead in the courts.

Asked about a possible solution that would allow the five shows to take place, he said: “At this stage if somebody pulled a switch we could do it,” adding, “it would have to happen today”.

However, that legal bid never materialised yesterday afternoon. Mr Keegan had said during his last appearance before the committee on Tuesday that DCC had been prepared to defend its decision if a judicial review application was lodged, and there was no suggestion that the position had changed following yesterday’s meting.

The GAA said the concerts were “a bonus” financially but that it would not be seeking financial compensation, although Peter Aiken said he was taking legal advice as to his options.


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