Gig go-ahead | 

Five concerts believed to be Garth Brooks shows 'sanctioned, planned and going ahead' next year

Five concerts are 'in the books' and although Aiken Promotions has not said the performer is Garth Brooks, that is understood to be the case

Garth Brooks fans in 2014 supporting his five nights at Croke Park.

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Five concerts believed to be Garth Brooks gigs have been "sanctioned, planned and are going ahead" in Croke Park next year, it has been confirmed.

The independent chairperson of Croke Park community meetings, Noeline Blackwell, has said the five concerts are "in the books" already and although Aiken Promotions has not said the performer is Garth Brooks, that is understood to be the case.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Ms Blackwell also said there is a recognition that more work has to be done to improve the experience of local residents if the concerts take place.

It follows last night's meeting with more than 120 residents who met with senior management from both Croke Park Stadium and Aiken Promotions to discuss stadium concert plans for 2022.

Croke Park does not need planning for up to three concerts in a year.

Ms Blackwell confirmed that an application to Dublin City Council was made and two more concerts have now been sanctioned.

She said a second application to permit two further concerts to go ahead in September 2022 has also been lodged with the Council.

However, she said that it is "clear much more work needs to be done in relation to the concerts which are sanctioned”.

She added that everyone “recognised the serious impact these concerts have on local residents".

She insisted that there will be an opportunity for residents to come together with the stadium management and promoters to work out a better way forward.

However, Colm Stephens, of the Clonliffe & Croke Park Area Residents' Association, who was also speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, said that had been presented with a "fait accompli" with five concerts going ahead and applications for two more.

He said most people wanted to talk about the fact there were five confirmed and possibly seven concerts in the coming year and whether there was a guarantee that no others would take place.

He also revealed that they are appealing to Dublin City Council regarding the concerts, saying, "they have the power to grant as many licenses as they like".

Speaking earlier on Newstalk, he said the residents association has called on Dublin City Council to reject any further applications for additional concerts in Croke Park in 2022 and voiced their opposition at a meeting with the GAA last night.

Mr Stephens pointed out that Croke Park was “a huge building” set in the middle of a residential area. There was no traffic infrastructure in place to deal with the crowds attending such events.

“It’s like having a nightclub for 80,000 people in the middle of a residential area", he said.

While some businesses such as shops and bars welcomed the concerts because of increased business, there were others who had to close when there were concerts in Croke Park, he said.

Mr Stephens said that there had been “hilarity” at the public meeting on Thursday night when Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna had “made the poor mouth” saying that the GAA was “broke.”

He stated that if there is agreement to hold just three concerts then the Residents' Association will cooperate and work with Croke Park and others to make sure the concerts run as smoothly as possible.

Susan Mangan, a Ballybough resident, has said she along with some others in the community want the seven concerts to go ahead.

She argued that it will be good for local businesses including pubs and shops.

She described how local pubs that are largely family owned had gone through bad times with Covid, and had stayed shut for significant amounts of time.

She added it is not a case of "pitting neighbour against neighbour" and she wants any issues that are raised to be addressed.

"This was the first meeting last night and I do hope we are going to have a series of meetings," she told RTE.

In a statement, Croke Park said: "The meeting ended with a renewed commitment to build on the dialogue of the evening. A special working group in relation to the 2022 concerts in the stadium will be established to continue the direct engagement between Croke Park, Aiken Promotions, other stakeholders and the local community."

In a statement, Aiken Promotions said they "look forward to continuing to engage with the residents in the weeks ahead".

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