herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

what a sham bles

FIASCO: Taoiseach slams way sellout gigs were managed as singer pulls the plug on all five Croke Park concerts

THE country's reputation is in tatters from the Garth Brooks concerts fiasco, the Taoiseach has said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has lashed Garth Brooks, promoter Peter Aiken, Dublin City Council and the GAA for the way in which the cancelled Croke Park sell out gigs were managed.

Speaking as Brooks dramatically pulled the plug on the remaining three dates leaving 400,000 fans disappointed and Dublin businesses losing out on €50m, Mr Kenny said it "appears to have been very badly handled all around".

"It is a shock to the system in terms of the economy of the city and the reputation of our country," Mr Kenny said.

Croke Park authorities also stand to lose a further €5m.

Concert promoter Peter Aiken told the Herald he did not know how his business was going to recover from the saga.

horrendous

"It's going to be horrendous. How do you recover?" he asked.

Mr Aiken was then asked if the cost incurred to him as a result of the cancellation of the concerts would cause his company to close.

"It'll take a better man than Owen Keegan (Dublin City Chief Executive) to put me down. I have been shafted by a fellow citizen," answered Mr Aiken.

And last night another bitter dispute broke out between Dublin City Council and Aiken Promotions revolving around the possibility of a fourth concert.

According to Mr Aiken, (right) he was contacted by the council who told him only three concerts would be granted a licence, but after some debate the council said four could be possible.

"I was offered three the night before Dublin City Council made their announcement. I rang Garth and I then told the council that it was not acceptable and within 15 minutes they got back and said there could be four," he said. "In 15 minutes it went from three to four, imagine being treated like that when they based their decision (to not licence the extra two concerts) on the impact of a fourth and fifth concert. It's an unbelievable way of doing business."

In response to the concert promoter's claims Dublin City Council last night said that a fourth concert was suggested as a "possibility".

"On being advised that Garth Brooks would not perform just three concerts the Chief Executive offered to discuss with the decision maker in the Planning Department the possibility of permitting a fourth concert," said a spokesperson for the council.

The council didn't want to comment further on Aiken's claims about Mr Keegan.

Yesterday Aiken Promotions broke the news that no Garth Brooks concerts would take place causing an estimated loss of more than €50m to the economy.

"Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event," read the statement.

The news received a mixed response with one government minister calling the country and western singer petulant and arrogant. Trade and Development Minister and Dublin TD Joe Costello said: "His determination to have "five or none" smacks of petulance and arrogance, with scant regard for his paying fans."

And the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan has said that the cancellation of the concerts is "an embarrassment" for the country.

Kieran Mulvey, the CEO of the Labour Relations Commission, who was appointed to resolve a dispute between Croke Park residents and 
the GAA, echoed Mr Deenihan's words.

debacle

"It's a debacle and effectively a lot of questions are going to have to be asked around this. It's news in the US today but it will become world news tomorrow." Mr Mulvey.

With an estimated revenue loss of €50m, Croke Park authorities look set to lose more than €5m from the cancellation of the concerts. An analysis of the accounts of Pairc an Chrocaigh Teoranta - the company that runs the stadium - shows that the stadium has raked in more than €1m per large-scale event it has hosted in recent years.

Yesterday the GAA said it shares the "intense disappointment" of the 400,000 people who have purchased tickets. It said: "At no stage were we given any indication that a licence was likely to be refused for any of the five concerts."

Ticketmaster will today issue instructions on how ticket-holders will be refunded. They called the situation "unprecedented."

SEE PAGE 27

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