herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

11th-hour talks to save 5 Brooks gigs scuppered

Last-minute legal moves aimed at ensuring the axed Garth Brooks concerts went ahead were abandoned as it became clear that Owen Keegan would oppose the action.

An uncontested judicial review is seen as the only way to salvage the five-night event, but it is understood that Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan would vigorously oppose it, fearing he would have to resign if he did not.

The Oireachtas Committee investigating the licensing of only three of the five planned Garth Brooks gigs has called on the city manager to reappear.

It looked hopeful yesterday that the concerts could still go ahead as papers were prepared for the High Court to apply for a judicial review.

Three members of the committee, including its chairman John O'Mahony, visited Lord Mayor Christy Burke in the Mansion House and secured his support for the proposed judicial review.

It is understood that Mr Burke contacted Mr Keegan directly and pleaded with the city manager to facilitate the 
proposal, which could have seen the 
concerts restored.

But last night, two sources close to the council said that if Mr Keegan budged on the issue, "he would have no option but to resign".

"He's not for budging, it's as simple as that," said a source.

Mr Keegan will now appear in front of the committee 
tomorrow, with growing 
speculation that his resignation will be called for.

Meanwhile in Nashville, Brooks' management are keeping a close eye on proceedings in Dublin and watching the live webcast of the committee meetings.

Brooks' camp are "still holding out hope" that all five concerts will go ahead, said a source in Nashville.

"Mr Keegan surely has the perfect out if so many of those objections to the concerts were fraudulent," the source added.

Furthermore, the country singer's team was very mindful that Ticketmaster would today begin refunds for the concert tickets.

"Friday is too late," said the source.

And in an extraordinary twist, Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna claimed that he was told by Mr Keegan in February that the council was fully behind the five concerts.

He said that Mr Keegan told him that he "wanted us to make the process easy for him", adding: "There was not a mention or whiff that the application wouldn't be given."

dramatic

"I know it's very dramatic, but I would be willing to swear an 
affidavit . . . I'm that certain of that telephone conversation," Mr McKenna said at the 
committee.

But last night, Dublin City Council released a statement rejecting Mr McKenna's claims surrounding the telephone 
conversation.

"No assurance was given, or indeed could be given at that stage, that all five proposed concerts would be licensed," read the statement.

jfegan@herald.ie

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