herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

garth hits redial as taoiseach misses call because of reshuffle

Garth Brooks' management have officially made contact with Enda Kenny in a bid to salvage the five Croke Park concerts, the Herald can reveal.

A source close to the country music star confirmed that they have attempted to speak directly to Mr Kenny - but have been unable to get any concrete deal hammered out as the Fine Gael leader was embroiled in the Cabinet reshuffle yesterday.

"They have tried to reach out but Brooks' immediate camp has not heard anything back yet," said a source close to the country superstar at 9pm Irish time last night.

"We believe he has a lot on his plate today forming a new government," added the source.

Contact

Mr Kenny also received contact, by way of a telephone call to his mobile, from Irish country singer, Pete Kennedy, who is based in Nashville.

"I received a very warm reception and I phoned them and explained in detail to them the scale of the situation and they listened basically," Mr Kennedy told the Herald.

"And I asked them to please do everything they possibly can in the interest of our national reputation," he added. As an award-winning country musician based in Nashville Mr Kennedy said he felt a responsibility to personally phone the Taoiseach.

"In the interest of the Irish music industry and the economy and for us to be able to show the world that we are open, willing and able to facilitate any major event and to be welcoming, I felt a responsibility to call an Taoiseach," Mr Kennedy said.

"I felt they took my call very seriously even though it was a busy day for the government," he added.

It is understood that after Mr Kennedy rang Mr Kenny's personal mobile at 5.30pm he then received a phone call from the Taoiseach's private secretary at 5.55pm. The phone conversation lasted approximately 15 minutes.

Mr Kennedy also attempted to make contact with the newly appointed Minister for Arts, Heather Humphries, but he was unsuccessful. It is believed that Mr Brooks is still hopeful that all five concerts can go ahead as scheduled even though it would involve the passing of emergency legislation.

After a press conference in Nashville, Tennessee the country star rejected an offer from Dublin City Council to play two matinee shows on Saturday July 26 and Sunday July 27. He said it would be 'unfair' to treat 160,000 fans differently.

But by yesterday evening, government sources have suggested there are no further options to consider to get the shows back on track. Brooks has said he is willing to "crawl, swim, or fly" to Ireland to meet with Taoiesach Enda Kenny on the issue, but a rendezvous like this does not look likely.

The singer said a "dark cloud" hangs over his comeback tour.

Last week, Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan confirmed that just three of the planned five nights at Croke Park could proceed.

concerns

But Brooks still insists that any planning concerns were never raised with him.

"At no time when the 400,000 tickets were announced did anyone go 'Woah, woah, wait'.

"So no, not until you heard the news, I probably heard it after you. The Irish have my love forever. Whether I ever play there again or not, is the question."

The ship with 18 containers of cargo for the Croke Park concerts is due to arrive in Dublin Port this afternoon. Ticketmaster are preparing to refund all 400,000 tickets Garth Brooks fans from Tuesday morning.

hnews@herald.ie

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