herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Minister rules out new laws in Garthgate fiasco

Garth Brooks. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty
Garth Brooks. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty

NEWLY-appointed Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, has resolutely ruled out introducing legislation that would pave the way to allow Garth Brooks to play five nights in Croke Park.

It comes after Mr Kelly said he was confident that the gigs can go ahead, prompting hopes that he might intervene.

But as gardai investigate bogus objections to the Croke Park gigs that include the names of children and a prison inmate, the minister has dashed any hope of an intervention.

He said that "rushed legislation" could open up all the concerts to possible legal action, adding that he will "not be going down this road". He said he is "legally precluded from intervening in any individual decision made by a planning authority" and that it would be "entirely inappropriate".

"I believe this situation can only be solved by all the parties coming together in an atmosphere of calm and with all sides being flexible in their approach," he added.

He said that there were more pressing issues that require concentration, and that "a line needs to be drawn under this controversy over the next 48 hours".

The minister added that he will be carrying out a review of the legislation surrounding the licensing of events in order to avoid coming to this "ridiculous juncture again".

Gardai investigating claims of bogus complaints about the five shows have established a series of irregularities.

Objections lodged against the concerts are believed to have included signatures from people living abroad, children and a prison inmate.

It comes as yet another round of intensive talks were underway last night aimed at salvaging the gigs.

Ticketmaster have delayed the refund process until Thursday, two days after they were originally due to begin giving disappointed fans their money.

They said that the decision to delay the commencement of refunds is due to ongoing negotiations "to try and find a resolution to the concerts situation".

lbyrne@herald.ie

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