Northern Ireland

Garth Brooks' cancelled Dublin concerts: Government to hold hearing

Garth Brooks in Croke Park Image copyright PA
Image caption Garth Brooks came to Croke Park in January to promote his summer concerts

Bodies involved in the row over US singer Garth Brooks' five cancelled Dublin shows have been called to appear before an Irish government committee.

The GAA, Aiken Promotions and Dublin City Council have been contacted by the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

It wants to establish the chain of events that led to the cancellations.

Arrangements for the refunding of 400,000 tickets for the Croke Park concerts have been revealed.

'Mess'

The details were published on the website of Ticketmaster, which had sold the tickets:

  • People who bought tickets over the phone, online or by mobile will not have to do anything more, but the company advises people to allow up to 10 working days for the money to be refunded
  • Those who bought tickets in a shop will have to complete a refund form and either post it to the company along with the tickets or hand them into a Ticketmaster outlet
  • The Ticketmaster service charge will also be refunded
  • However, people who bought tickets from unauthorised sellers will have to contact them personally to get a refund from them.

Dublin City Council granted permission last week for just three of the country singer's planned concerts later this month, but Aiken Promotions announced on Monday that having "exhausted all avenues", none of the shows would go ahead.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Garth Brooks had been booked for five shows at Croke Park in July

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny rejected calls for emergency laws to be brought in to allow the concerts to go ahead, as the government risked being accused of "doing down" the rights of residents and interfering with the planning process if it intervened.

He told parliament he had ordered a review of the planning process for major events.

"It's a major loss to the country, to the goodwill and good feeling of all those fans of Garth Brooks that this is lost, not to mention the hard economic loss to people here - it's a mess," he said.

Croke Park, owned by the GAA, is in a residential area in the north of the city, and some residents had threatened legal action after the initial two concerts were increased to five because of unprecedented demand.

Police confirmed on Wednesday that they were carrying out an investigation "into a small number of alleged forged signatures in relation to objections to upcoming concerts at Croke Park".

The investigation began a week ago, a spokesman said.

After the council ruled that only three concerts could go ahead, Brooks said he would play "all or none" of the concerts.

Brooks said to chose which shows to play and which not to, would be "like asking to choose one child over another".

Media captionPromoter Peter Aiken said the firm had explored all options

The chief executive of Dublin's chamber of commerce has estimated that businesses in the city stand to lose 50m euros (£39.7m) in lost revenue.

The cancellation led to an outcry from fans, many of whom had booked hotel rooms in Dublin and made travel arrangements.

Trading Standards officer Jimmy Hughes said while many fans will get all their expenses back, others may lose out.

"If you bought a nice little package, and you'll know it's a package because it will say come to our hotel, stay for two nights, go to see Garth, we'll maybe give you a taxi, something along those lines, you should be getting your money back," he said.

"The hotel should actually have the insurance in place, but if you simply decided to buy a ticket on the train down to Dublin or on a bus down to Dublin, on a standard scheduled bus, you have no more right to a refund than somebody who is going down to watch the racing at Leopardstown."

Last week, the council said it could not reverse the decision permitting only three, but on Monday, councillors backed a motion calling for the five concerts to go ahead.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said three days of talks with promoter Peter Aiken, the GAA and mediator Kieran Mulvey had failed to find a solution.

Residents had claimed they were not consulted before the organisers announced the shows or put the tickets on sale.

The council said that granting all five concerts, following on from three by One Direction in May, would have doubled the previous maximum number of concerts held at Croke Park per year.

Licence application

The GAA had an agreement with residents that a maximum of three concerts would be held each year in the sports venue.

The council said 373 submissions had been received from residents, residents' groups and local businesses.

The promoters lodged an application for a licence to stage all five shows on 17 April despite not having secured formal permission from the council.

This is not an unusual practice in the Republic of Ireland, but the controversy over the Garth Brooks concerts has brought the issue into the spotlight.

The concerts were supposed to mark Brooks' comeback, and the singer recently said that Ireland was the best place in the world for him and his favourite place to sing.

It has been 17 years since his last concert in Dublin.

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