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Croke Park residents could agree to Garth Brooks 'if neighbourhood is looked after' during concerts

There are plans for seven gigs at the stadium next year.

RESIDENTS AND LOCAL businesses met with concert promoters and Croke Park officials last night to discuss next September’s mooted Garth Brooks concerts at the Drumcondra stadium.

The country music superstar has been granted a licence for three gigs at GAA headquarters next year but the singer has applied for an extra two shows.

Croke Park will also host two Ed Sheeran concerts in April, bringing the possible total number of shows in 2022 to seven. The usual maximum number of concerts per year is three.

The Clonliffe and Croke Park Area residents association accused Croke Park of failing to meet commitments previously given to consult the local community before submitting applications for extra events.

The group added that holding seven concerts in 2022 would set an “alarming precedent for further intensification.”

At the meeting Croke Park management sought to assure residents that the busy slate of shows next year would not be repeated again in the future.

Aiken Promotions also provided an update on their plan for the concerts and a timeline for when further information will be available.

The meeting was chaired by Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre and it took place in the National Handball Centre, in the shadow of Croke Park.

Resident Anthony Kelly said many in the area have a lot of concerns about the hosting of all events at Croke Park, not just the proposed Garth Brooks concerts.

“I don’t really think anything really came out of the meeting. And I think people’s concerns generally have to be addressed. If these concerts don’t go ahead it’s more down to Croke Park just not doing their job and just literally engaging with people,” Kelly told Newstalk Breakfast.

A lot of people weren’t happy with Croke Park and the management of events of all types.

Councillor Cat O’Driscoll, who attended the meeting, said it offered residents an opportunity to express their concerns and “get things off their chests.”

The Social Democrats councillor for Cabra-Glasnevin said residents raised concerns around the disruption the concerts would cause.

The range of issues cited included the erection of a security cordon in the neighbourhood, problems with crowds, parking, litter and anti-social behaviour.

Despite the problems, some residents still are still in favour of the shows taking place.

“There was a portion of support for the concerts, people said they were excited by them, there was claps for that. So it’s definitely not the case that all residents agree. Some of them raised very specific issues, which can be actioned,” O’Driscoll explained. 

The councillor added that the concerts have a chance of securing backing from residents if the agencies with the ability to manage the issues that were raised address them.

“Whether it’s toilets, bins or supervision, whatever is needed to keep their neighbourhood well looked after during these massive events,” she said 

“It does seem that 2022 is a special year, that they’re trying to pack in as much as they can. And that after 2022 Croke Park won’t be used for as many concerts. That’s the feeling I came away with,” O’Driscoll said.

Others involved in last night’s meeting said that local residents are divided on the prospect of the gigs going ahead but that the meeting wasn’t openly hostile.

One source said that the GAA had carried out a lot of engagement in the area since 2015 to repair relations with locals, and that due to the fact there hasn’t been a concert in Croke Park since before the pandemic, it could make the prospect of concerts more likely.

Additional reporting by Cónal Thomas

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