Mediator says next 24 hours crucial in bid to resolve row over Garth Brooks concerts

Residents close to Croke Park come out in support of the Garth Brooks gigs. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The mediator in the Garth Brooks Croke Park row has set tomorrow as D-day for a solution to be found.

The chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission, Kieran Mulvey — who had already issued a report recommending Croke Park stage just three concerts a year before last week’s decision by Dublin City Council to axe the last two of five Brooks shows — said different parties in the row were “defending their patch” when a solution needed to be found.

“Some effort has to be made to see if resolution can be found to this in the next 24/48 hours,” he said, adding that, in reality, a decision needed to be found today.

He claimed the five concert run by the US country star was “an international concert of extraordinary dimensions, with an extraordinary number of worldwide tickets sold”.

However, he said the possibility of the last two concerts being switched to an alternative venue was unlikely and that “it’s not the time for blame, it’s the time for solution”.

Mr Mulvey had already proposed that the five concerts be allowed to take place in exchange for an agreement that no concerts would be staged in Croke Park next year.

Residents last week welcomed the decision by Dublin City Council to only grant licences to the first three Garth Brooks shows, due to be begin on July 25.

However, a separate group of residents in the area have since started a petition on change.org asking that the concerts go ahead, citing the revenue that would be brought into the area.

It was started by Dublin woman Laura Moran, while locals in favour of the concerts going ahead held a demonstration outside Croke Park yesterday ahead of the Leinster senior hurling final.

The online petition has already attracted thousands of signatures, while the Ballybough Residents Supporting Croke Park group said the positive aspects of the gigs outweigh any downsides.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show, Mr Mulvey said he had spent the weekend discussing the issue with Dublin Lord Mayor Cllr Christy Burke in the hopes of reaching “an amicable solution”.

He said there was “a difficulty” in the fact the laws did not allow the council’s decision to be appealed, and regarding representative bodies, it was a case of “who represents whom?”

He also queried the level of co-operation with the search for a solution in some quarters.

Approximately 400,000 tickets were sold for the five shows, which were subject to licence. Responding to the decision to only allow three to go ahead, Garth Brooks issued a statement saying he would play all five concerts or none at all.

It has left ticketholders in limbo as they await a deal to resolve the issue, while hotel and tourism representatives have claimed Dublin and the country generally will lose out on millions in lost revenue.

The Licensed Vintners Association yesterday said publicans could miss out on €15m of business if the shows are cancelled. Dublin business leaders are due to hold a press conference this morning demanding the row be resolved.

Dublin senator Catherine Noone said she would propose a Seanad Private Members Bill to amend the outdoor licensing process and ensure that events with over 10,000 tickets will have to obtain a licence prior to tickets going on sale.

“In light of the issue which has arisen in Croke Park, it is clear that the concert licensing process isn’t fit for purpose,” she said.

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