herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Gardai probe forged Garth gigs objections

GARDAI investigating allegations of forged objections to the ill-fated Garth Brooks gigs are following more than 450 lines of enquiry and have prepared a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Objections lodged against the Croke Park concerts were believed to have included signatures from people living abroad, children, dead people and even a prison inmate.

Gardai investigating claims of bogus complaints about the five shows have been able to establish a series of irregularities.

During their investigations, detectives suspected that between 35pc and 40pc of the almost 400 objections lodged may be forged.

The country music star had planned to play five concerts on consecutive days at the home of the GAA, starting on July 25.

However, with more than 400,000 tickets sold, Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan refused to grant a licence for more than three of the concerts. After days of crisis talks, including proposed matinee shows, the singer decided to pull the plug on all of the concerts.

The objections of local residents played a major role in the decision by Mr Keegan to only grant licences for three Garth Brooks' performances rather than the planned five.

exaggerated

However, now that the gardai believe that there may be cases to answer, the number of these objections may have been grossly over-exaggerated.

It emerged at the time that Dublin City Council officials and gardai were alarmed over some of the identities which are alleged to have submitted applications.

It is understood that there is a number of individuals who may have been involved in the forgery of objection letters. Mr Keegan told the Oireachtas Transport Committee in July that, of a sample of 200 submissions received by the local authority in relation to the Brooks shows, 72 of them were suspect.

A garda spokesperson told the Herald "An investigation into alleged irregularities in submissions made to Dublin City Council regarding the Licence Application for the Garth Brooks concerts, which commenced in June 2014, is ongoing.

"Gardai are following over 450 lines of enquiry as part of the investigation. To date in excess of 200 statements have been taken," .

Senior Croke Park officials had also expressed concern about the development when it emerged gardai were investigating the issue.

hnews@herald.ie

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