Government intervenes in bid to salvage Brooks gigs

Government intervention last night saw senior figures in Dublin City Council invited to crisis talks to see what can be done to salvage the Garth Brooks concerts.

News of the intervention came a few hours after the American country music star opened the way for his Croke Park concert run to be resurrected, saying his tour crew were still en route to Ireland and “if there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged and nobody is being let down, then we can proceed as planned until the refunds begin”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is believed to have asked Kieran Mulvey of the Labour Relations Commission to get Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan and Lord Mayor Christy Burke round the table to see if a solution can be reached.

Sources close to the Taoiseach said: “The Government is open to a positive outcome in relation to the concert, given the public and fan interest and the potential revenue loss.”

It also emerged last night that Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has been in contact with parties including Mr Keegan, concert promoter Peter Aiken, and Paraic Duffy of the GAA, since last Friday and told them he was willing to fly to the US to meet Brooks if it would help.

Ticketmaster yesterday published details on how 400,000 ticket holders could be refunded for the concerts, which were pulled in their entirety on Tuesday.

However in a heartfelt plea written to Peter Aiken, and released by Aiken Promotions last night, Brooks said: “If you think ‘the powers that be’ in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second.”

Government intervenes in bid to salvage Brooks gigs

He reiterated his demand to play all five shows, saying “to do what the city manager suggests… means I agree that is how people should be treated and I just can’t agree with that”.

On the fact the concerts were pulled in the first place, following Dublin City Council’s decision to grant licences for only three of them, he said: “I cannot begin to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now.”

The letter emerged just hours after a legal challenge seeking to injunct the three licensed shows was withdrawn. It was lodged earlier this week before Tuesday’s announcement by Aiken Promotions that no shows would be going ahead.

Brian Duff, a scaffolder from Ballybough in the north inner city of Dublin, had lodged the application through his solicitor, Anthony Fay.

Mr Duff said yesterday he was withdrawing the application after he and his family had been subjected to online abuse, and even death threats.

Garth Brooks is scheduled to give a press conference from Nashville at 5pm today, which will be streamed live.

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