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Garth Brooks Irish concerts: council urged to reconsider

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Media captionA decision on the planned Garth Brooks' concerts in Dublin is due soon.

Sinn Féin has tabled an emergency motion to go before Dublin City Council later in the hope that all five Garth Brooks concerts will go ahead.

The US star had been due to stage five shows at Croke Park stadium on 25 to 29 July.

However, Dublin City Council said on Friday that only three concerts would go ahead and it could not reverse this.

Concert promoter Peter Aiken said a decision would be made on Tuesday.

Some residents are unhappy at the disruption caused to their lives by major concerts at the city's Croke Park stadium, which is run by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

When the council refused permission for two of the dates, Garth Brooks said on Thursday he would do "five shows or none at all".

The US singer compared having to choose between concert dates to being asked "to choose one child over another".

The singer said he had "faith that Dublin City Council will make the best decision for the people of Ireland".

The motion is due to go before the council at 17:30 BST.

According to Garth Brook's official website, he will hold a press conference on Thursday 10 July.

It is speculated that he may speak about the recent concert disruptions.

Mediation

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Media captionResidents living nearby explain their concerns with concerts to BBC News NI's Kevin Sharkey

About 400,000 fans have booked tickets for the five sold-out concerts, but permission has only been granted for shows on 25, 26 and 27 July.

A mediator has been brought in to try and resolve the situation.

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin deputy leader, said she hoped the motion would have the support of the city's elected representatives.

The motion urges the council to reconsider the conditions of the licence for the Garth Brooks concerts.

"This has been one almighty mess and a textbook example of how not to do things," she told Radio Ulster's Talkback on Monday.

"I think everyone agrees that the manner in which licences are awarded for concerts needs to be revisited.

"The sequencing needs to be tweaked. It doesn't make any sense that tickets would be sold and licences sought after the fact - when people have bought tickets in good faith for these concerts."

Ms McDonald said she was anxious that tensions and strains between certain sections of the community and the GAA could be straightened out.

She said that Kieran Mulvey, an established and respected mediator, had set out proposals which represented the pathway forward in the interests of the community.

On Friday, Dublin City Council released a statement outlining the timelines of events from the date the tickets went on sale, to its refusal to grant the licences earlier this week.

The council said it had received complaints from residents living near Croke Park stadium who said their area was "locked down" during major concerts and their objection to the unprecedented number of gigs on consecutive nights.

More than 370 people wrote to the council outlining their concerns about the Brooks shows.

On Friday, some residents launched a petition to have all five proposed events go ahead.

'Hope'

They said that those who oppose the concerts do not speak for the entire area.

However, Peter Aiken said the five concerts had not been cancelled, so there was still "a bit of hope".

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Image caption Brooks had been booked for five shows on consecutive nights at Croke Park in July and said he will stage "five shows or none at all"

Gina Quin, chief executive of Dublin Chamber of Commerce said she hoped the situation could be "pulled away from the brink".

"There would probably be a loss of 20m to 30m euros (£15m - £23m) in revenue to business in Dublin and Ireland if these last two concerts do not go ahead," she said.

"It would be over 50m euros (£39.7m) if all five are cancelled."

Ms Quin said this was very significant from an economic point of view.

"We have a planning system that has not served us well," she said.

"It is quite clear that the planning for this should have been happening in 2013 or 2014 before 400,000 tickets were sold."

Ms Quin said a major concern was that this put up "a very bad sign to the international community about Dublin being open for business and major international events".

Several other venues have been mentioned as possible alternatives to stage the final two shows, but Mr Aiken said it would not be possible to move venues as the set was custom built for Croke Park.

He said one alternative may be to hold the cancelled concerts in Croke Park in October, following the conclusion of the All-Ireland football and hurling championships.

Mr Aiken said he stood to lose a "seven figure sum" if the concerts did not go ahead, while he also claimed Mr Brooks would stand to lose "millions".

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