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Council says Garth Brooks decision 'cannot be amended or appealed'

The singer said last night that it’s five shows or nothing. The tourism minister says there’s no reason why the three scheduled gigs shouldn’t take place.

Image: Mark Humphrey

Updated 22.50pm

IN A STATEMENT this evening, Dublin City Council said that the decision to reduce Garth Brooks concerts “cannot be amended or appealed”.

They said they did raise their concerns regarding the number of concerts with the promoters.

Earlier today, the Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar has said he sees no reason why the three Garth Brooks concerts scheduled for Croke Park later this month shouldn’t go ahead as planned.

It follows comments from Fianna Fáil’s tourism spokesperson Timmy Dooley earlier calling on Varadkar to intervene in the row involving Dublin City Council and local residents on one side — and promoters Aiken and the GAA on the other.

In what’s being perceived as an act of brinkmanship (no doubt arranged in co-ordination with the promoters) Brooks himself last night put out a statement on the council’s decision to give permission for just three of the scheduled five gigs to go ahead.

“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another,” the statement said.

For us, it’s five shows or none at all.

Promoter Peter Aiken also said last night that he “doesn’t know” if the remaining nights will go ahead.

‘Explore all options’

Dooley said earlier that Varadkar and Environment Minister Phil Hogan should meet to discuss the issue, because of the risk to Ireland’s reputation as a tourist destination.

Though he didn’t specifically say what steps should be taken, he urged the two ministers to immediately “explore all the options open to them”.

However, in a statement this evening, Varadkar said:

The decision on the licence was made by Dublin City Council and there is no provision in law for it to be appealed or overturned other than by the courts.

Acknowledging that the way the situation had been handled was a blow to fans, he said “the way this happened at the very last minute is clearly unsatisfactory from everyone’s point of view and highlights the need to review the major events licencing laws”.

“Nonetheless residents have legitimate concerns about five concerts in a row which the GAA has conceded was a mistake,” Varadkar said.

He added:

“There were only supposed to be three concerts when the tour was first advertised and I see no reason why these should not now proceed.

The onus is on the promoters to ensure that two other concerts are rescheduled or relocated.

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Speaking this evening, the junior minister in Varadkar’s department, Alan Kelly, said it was an issue to be addressed by Dublin City Council.

“From a planning point of view I don’t think it’s appropriate that politicians get involved in that from a history point of view. We’ve learned our lessons there. Politicians shouldn’t get involved in planning.”

Other solutions

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil have this evening published a new piece of legislation which would create an appeals process where local authorities have refused an event licence.

Sinn Féin have also weighed in on the issue — with the party’s group leader on Dublin City Council, Seamus McGrattan, calling for the city manager to reverse the decision not to allow two of the gigs to go ahead.

The party’s exploring whether Section 140 of the Local Government Act might offer a way forward.

“If the manager does not reverse his decision Sinn Féin will explore the option of using section 140 of the Local Government Act to overturn the decision with the support of two thirds of the City Councillors,” McGrattan said in a statement.

A party spokesperson said they weren’t sure as yet whether that might provide a possible solution, but that councillors were examining the possibility.

Read: Some Croke Park residents are signing a petition to reinstate all five concerts>

Read: Garth Brooks: ‘For us, it is five shows or none at all’>

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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