Council rules out change on licences

The prospect of Garth Brooks playing any shows in Croke Park this month appeared to recede last night with a fresh court bid to stop the three licensed shows and Brooks sticking with his desire to play all five concerts.

Dublin City manager Owen Keegan also ruled out any change to the decision taken by Dublin City Council last week to grant licences for the first three shows only, beginning on July 25.

The country music superstar is to hold a press conference at 5pm, Irish time, in Nashville on Thursday, with 400,000 ticket holders anxiously awaiting developments.

Last night, a spokesperson for Brooks, speaking from Los Angeles, said the press conference in Nashville on Thursday had been arranged long before last week’s decision by Dublin City Council to refuse licences for two of the five shows.

“It has nothing to do with it,” the spokesperson from Nancy Seltzer PR said, adding that last week’s statement in which Brooks said it was either five shows or none “must stay”. She said Brooks may not even refer to the Croke Park situation on Thursday, although she hoped the issue would be resolved by then.

That prospect seemed in doubt last night, with Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke stating yesterday: “My understanding is the ship leaves tonight and five [concerts] must be on it.”

Regarding the possibility of rescheduling the final two dates he said: “That has not come up,” adding that this could indicate that “it is not a runner”.

Another source with knowledge of the situation said it was understood Garth Brooks was still adopting a position of all five shows or none at all.

One local resident has now applied for an injunction to prevent the three licensed shows from proceeding, while Mr Keegan told a meeting of Dublin City Council that he hoped the two outstanding dates could be accommodated at a later stage.

“Dublin City Council hopes that Garth Brooks will avail of the licence that has been granted and plays the three shows,” Mr Keegan told councillors. “Of course, the City Council has sympathy for those ticket holders who purchased tickets for the shows on Monday and Tuesday and would hope these two shows could be facilitated in the future.”

He said the concert promoters “could have lodged the licence application at any stage, including before the tickets went on sale”, rather than April 17 when the application was made, and said the council had been “consistent” in voicing concerns over the magnitude of the concerts. In meetings in June, Dublin City Council Planning Department had made it clear no decision had been made on the application at that time.

The Stop Croke Park Concert Madness Group said it had made an offer months ago for the five shows to go ahead, along with an American Football game later in the year, if there were no concerts in Croke Park in 2015 and 2016.

Spokesman Colm Stephens said this had been turned down, adding that residents would accept three concerts going ahead, but would object if the other two were rescheduled for 2014.

Dublin woman Laura Moran, who instigated an online [url=]petition]petition[/url] calling for the five concerts to go ahead, said yesterday it had received 7,697 signatures.


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