Garth 'Brokes' | 

Locals laugh at claim by Croke Park bosses that they need seven concerts because the GAA 'is broke'

Country music star Garth Brooks is playing Croke Park

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A claim by Croke Park bosses that the stadium needed seven concerts in the coming year because “the GAA was broke” was greeted with laughter, one Croke Park local has said.

A meeting between residents and Croke Park officials on Thursday was told that the seven concerts scheduled for 2022 will be an exception.

With five Garth Brooks gigs scheduled for Croke Park next year look set to go ahead, Croke Park said these as well as the two Ed Sheeran shows are a one-off and will not be repeated in future years.

But Colm Stephens, from the Clonliffe & Croke Park Area Residents' Association, told Newstalk Breakfast the meeting opened up with a moment of hilarity.

"We stand exactly in the same place as we stood,” he said. “Before I look back through the list of concerts that have been held in Croke Park over the various years - we stand in the same place as we stand every time Croke Park says they want to put on more than three concerts in one calendar year.

"There is slight difference - the meeting...opened up with a moment of hilarity.

"Peter McKenna, the CEO of Croke Park, put on the poor mouth and told us that the reason why they needed seven concerts in the coming year was because - in his words - the GAA was broke.

"Now that was news to most people in the audience and it actually was greeted with laughter."

Mr Stephens described the problems with hosting such big concerts in the area.

"We have what is a huge, huge building set in the middle of a very residential area with close, narrow streets with poor traffic infrastructure.

"And every two months, or seven in a year, we have these events - which I always compare - it's like having a nightclub with 80,000 people plonked in the middle of a residential area.

"And that causes huge, huge difficulties for the people who live around it."

And he says residents will do all they can to accommodate concerts, as long as numbers are limited.

"So what people expected, and what the residents say is the reasonable compromise - and the compromise that we have made - is that three concerts in one year is an acceptable level of disruption.

"And we will bend over backwards and cooperate with Croke Park with all the arrangements... once it's limited to three in any one year."

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