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There'll be no repeat of Garth Brooks debacle, insists Croke Park chief

Peter McKenna wants input from the residents the next time there are concerts in Croke Park

Peter McKenna said the residents in support of the concerts were drowned out by people from outside the area
Peter McKenna said the residents in support of the concerts were drowned out by people from outside the area
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CROKE PARK WILL work closely with residents groups in the future to ensure there is no repeat of the Garth Brooks fiasco, stadium director Peter McKenna said today.

McKenna mentioned the lack of dialogue between the residents and organisers as a key reason behind the five concerts being cancelled and said Croke Park and Dublin City Council are doing their utmost to open the lines of communication for future events.

“We have worked very hard with Dublin City Council to get a residents group that we can work with in the future,” McKenna said.

The residents have been the big losers here because there was a fund of €500,000 from the five concert series for investment in the local area.

McKenna also said that some of the most vocal “residents” in opposition to the concerts weren’t even from the immediate area. He pointed to the Oireachtas committee into the debacle, that showed a high number of bogus complaints, as proof that many residents who had no problem with the concerts were drowned out.

“A number of residents voiced their opinions in a positive way towards the end of the saga,” McKenna said.

“We talked to a lot of residents in the local area who felt their voice hadn’t been properly communicated and what came out of the Oireachtas hearing was that about 40% of the objections were bogus and a lot of the high profile organisers don’t even live in the area. The leaders from the community have emerged now and those from outside that community did themselves no justice.”

McKenna, speaking at an event to promote Croke Park Classic, also bristled at the suggestion that the role played by himself and Lord Mayor Christy Burke in the Brooks affair will stop Americans from coming back to future events in Croke Park because of another potential cancellation.

“Last night Christy Burke was here at 3am feeding the homeless,” McKenna said. ”He doesn’t have to do that as Lord Mayor but that is the kind of individual he is. Let’s report that and see what the Americans think.”

McKenna said the potential lost revenue to Croke Park because of the cancellation was €5 million. There were suggestions at the time that a solution could be for Brooks to play both matinee and nighttime gigs but McKenna said that would have been infeasible at Croke Park.

“Matinees would never have worked in Croke Park because we would never have been able to get 80,000 people out and then another 80,000 in,” McKenna said.

“The matinees that Garth Brooks had previously played were at smaller stadiums.”

Here’s how many times Garth Brooks was mentioned in Leinster House last month…

Gardaí write lengthy Facebook post laden with Garth Brooks puns 

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