REPRESENTATIVES OF DUBLIN’S hospitality sector today called on the residents of areas around Croke Park to “put their country first” and drop their objections to the five Garth Brooks gigs.
The heads of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI), the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce today said that the cancellation of the gigs would cost the city €50 million.
All of the representatives say that the furore over the concerts is harming Ireland’s reputation abroad and may even impact on our ability to attract future events, including the Rugby World Cup.
“There is huge losses both directly and indirectly if these two extra gigs don’t go ahead,” said Donal O’Keefe of the LVA.
Adrian Cummins of the RAI said that €15 million of the €50 million figure would come from food, adding that “if we cannot get our act together, it will affect us in the future”.
“A lot of our businesses need this injection of cash at a fragile time in our industry’s fragile recovery.”
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Stephen McNally of the IHF said that around 90,000 people are set to come from outside Ireland to see the gigs.
“The patient is in intensive care and I would call on all parties to get the patient well and get this thing on.”
All three indicated that their members would roster around a thousand staff per gig between them, with part-time staff set to benefit from the extra hours.
O’Keefe said that pubs in the vicinity of the stadium would be treating it “like five consecutive Saturday nights”.
Cummins said that people needed to “take a step back and put their country first in this instance”.
“The eyes of the world are upon us in the event management industry and the sports planning industry.
“They need to know that Ireland can put on a large-scale event of this magnitude.”
However, the idea that buckling to perceived pressure would give carte blanche to promoters was rejected.
“I think this debacle shows huge flaws in our planning process,” said Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power.
“We need to move from blame in this situation and find a solution.”
Power went on to say that legislative change was needed to ensure that customers are not put out and that promoters cannot hold cities to ransom.
With the negotiations so protracted and divisive, the idea of a solution that is fully approved by all sides is ambitious, but compromise is being called for.
“There will have to be compromise to find a solution and that means that some people won’t have it all the way they wanted,” said Gina Quinn of Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
“But we’re right up against the wire here.”
Donal O’Keefe said that it is “counter-productive to talk of winners and losers.”
Stephen McNally said that “if people aren’t going to compromise, we’re going to go nowhere.”