Concern over future Croker events quelled

by Gazette Reporter
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Fears that the debacle over five cancelled Garth Brooks concerts could jeopardise major events being held in Croke Park in the future, such as Ireland’s bid for the Rugby World Cup or European Championship 2020 application, have been allayed as such events come under different planning laws.
Licensing legislation for concerts and events has come under fire since a promoter sold tickets for five concerts in a row before a license was approved which is allowed under law. Last week, Dublin City Council granted a licence for three of the five Garth Brooks concerts but Aiken Promotions issued a statement on Tuesday to say all five would be cancelled.
The programme first hit a low note earlier this year when residents in the area voiced their opposition to the concerts. There is an understanding between the GAA and residents that only three concerts a year can be played there, however, eight concerts were planned for this year with three One Direction concerts already held and five Garth Brooks concerts due to be held later this month.
Cautioning that this fiasco could have a lasting detrimental impact on vital tourism events for the city, Dublin Chamber of Commerce said this will “hinder” Ireland’s ability to attract large concerts and events in the future.
Dublin Chamber estimates that the five concerts would have been worth over €50m to the Irish economy.
Dublin Chamber chief executive Gina Quin said: “This revenue has now been lost and the worry is that the Garth Brooks debacle, which has created headlines around the world, will hinder Ireland’s ability to attract large concerts and events in the future. Events are now a key driver of tourism and this threatens to damage our international reputation.”
Dublin Chamber has called for a complete review and overhaul of Ireland’s licencing legislation to ensure this episode is never repeated.
“Similar to exports, large sporting events and concert tourism have the capacity to generate much-needed growth for the economy. Our reputation as a country that is able to stage world class events has been severely jeopardised. At a time when Ireland is bidding to host the Rugby World Cup and European Championship 2020 matches, this is particularly concerning,” she said.
However, according to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar proposed Euro 2020 games or Rugby World Cup will not be subject to the same form of licensing.
“We plan them years, not weeks, in advance so that there are no surprises,” he said.
“This is at heart a licensing issue and demonstrates that we need to review the system to ensure that something like this does not recur.
“Fans are deeply disappointed and they are right to be. It was badly handled all round.
“The department has been facilitating discussions among tourism agencies, hoteliers and the hospitality industry to see how the sector can encourage overseas visitors to come to Dublin anyway.
“I am also calling on hotels and restaurants to give full refunds and not to impose cancellation charges on reservations connected with the Garth Brooks concerts.
“From a tourism perspective it is a real setback that these concerts have been cancelled but 2014 is still shaping up to be a great year for tourism,” he said.
Rugby pundit George Hook said that stating that our international reputation is ruined is “ghastly overstated”.
“I don’t think anybody around the world is worrying about this.
“There is a big difference between some promoter in Belfast asking a country and western singer to perform concerts in Croke Park and the Irish Rugby Union backed by the Irish Government seeking to hold the rugby world cup – that is the difference.
“And the single difference is that things will be sorted out in advance not after it.
“You can be absolutely certain that if we bid for the Rugby World Cup, things will be sorted out way in advance… the licence will be sorted before the event.
“This whole debacle is caused by the fact that there is a complete disregard for the planning laws. The GAA knew and the promoter knew that planning for that stadium was given on the basis of three events a year…. Planning laws are there for a reason,” he said.

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