Three extra dates have been added to Garth Brooks’ series of concerts in Croke Park next September due to high demand, prompting criticism from residents groups in the area.
The additional concerts will be held on September 11th, 16th and 17th at the Dublin venue, in addition to September 9th and 10th. Planning permission has been granted for five concerts in total.
At 8.10am, more than 280,000 people were waiting to buy tickets for the gigs.
The country singer’s five concerts at the venue in 2014 were cancelled because of objections from locals and a refusal by Dublin City Council to grant planning permission for the events.
Responding to the news of the extra concerts, PRO for the Clonliffe and Croke Park Area Residents’ Association Colm Stephens told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that the group finds the staging of five concerts “unacceptable”.
“The basis for our reasoning is that this was investigated a long time ago by An Bord Pleanala and they imposed a cap on the number of concerts and the number of what are called ‘special events’ in the stadium. That cap was set to three per annum.
“Three in any calendar year we are prepared to accept and we feel that it is a reasonable compromise. Nothing has really changed in the circumstances. We think this cap should be followed,” Mr Stephens said.
“Interestingly enough, when the legislation was brought in on ‘special events’ there is no legal mechanism for us to take any further action. We made our submissions – the majority of the submissions about these concerts objected about the number of concerts [being] above three, but the city council seems to have ignored our submissions.
“There is a two-to-one majority against the concerts, but they have gone with the minority,” he added.
Stressing the impact the staging of concerts has on the local area, Mr Stephens said he and many other residents will “try to move out of the area when Garth Brooks is there and abandon their houses”.
“It will be a serious consideration for people. Unfortunately it will be in school term time.”
“We may have to get offside to make room for Garth Brooks to make millions on the backs of the Irish people,” he added.
Despite the anger following the announcement on Thursday morning, Anthony Kelly, chair of the District Seven Alliance, told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show that “it was always going to be five”.
“We know there is going to be five. We had a meeting last week with Croke Park and it was all put to us that it was going to be five. It is just drip feeding the tickets. I got the call this morning that a third [concert] is planned, but we know it is going to be five,” he said, prior to the confirmation of the final two dates.
Mr Kelly said their issue was not with the event but with the management of the concerts: “It is the traffic management, it is the waste management, it is the security aspects of before and after. The vast majority of people don’t mind Croke Park, but they do mind what comes after and the way things are managed.”
Independent chairperson of the Croke Park Community Meetings, Noeleen Blackwell confirmed a working group has been established to discuss the issues relating to the concerts which have been raised by local residents.
“[Concerts] do bring a buzz to the area,” Ms Blackwell said, “but there is the level of inconvenience for those who live in the area, partly due to the really bad behaviour of patrons and partly due to the sheer volume of people coming to the events.”
She said Gardaí and waste management providers will be involved in the discussions, with the aim of reducing “the level of nuisance” caused to residents near the stadium. -Additional reporting by Olivia Kelleher.