Manager denies giving assurance on 5 Brooks gigs

The Dublin City manager has admitted he personally supported five Garth Brooks concerts but denied that assurance was given to Croke Park management that all the shows would be licensed.

Owen Keegan also told the Oireachtas transport committee that he would have resigned rather than not defend a judicial review of the decision to only grant three licences, as he stood over the process undertaken in reaching that decision.

He also revealed that of a sample of 200 submissions received by Dublin City Council in relation to the Brooks shows, 72 of them are suspect.

Mr Keegan — who first answered questions before the committee on Tuesday — was again flanked by the man who took the planning decision, Jim Keogan, and administrative officer John Downey.

On Wednesday, Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna and GAA director general Paraic Duffy told the committee Mr Keegan had, in a phone call with Mr McKenna in early February, indicated that all five shows would go ahead.

Yesterday, Mr Keegan sought to clarify that issue, stating: “At no stage did I advise Mr McKenna that a licence would issue for the five shows.”

However, he said that in the phone call he said he would be supportive of the concerts, but stressed that “Mr McKenna was fully aware of the event licensing process” and that it needed to be followed.

Mr Keegan said: “I fully accept that I told him I would support the five”, but said if he refused to take the call or told Mr McKenna that no licence would be granted he could have then been accused of under-mining a major event.

He said he had not wanted to “rule out” the concerts, and suggested that licensing for all five might have been possible had the GAA and Aiken Promotions dealt with the legitimate concerns of local residents.

He said there had been “a singular failure” to do that, claiming that in 14 years of shows in Marley Park in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, there had been just one objection, as opposed to the almost 400 submissions received on the Brooks gigs.

Later, he said that Mr McKenna was fully aware of the licensing process and must have known any decision would be informed by that process and submissions from the public.

As for the idea of not contesting a judicial review of the council’s decision, he said it would have been “completely contradictory” to his belief that correct procedures were followed, claiming: “I would have lost all credibility”. He said: “I would have resigned.”


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