Croke Park locals hope to avoid a repeat of a 2014 fiasco surrounding Garth Brooks concerts which saw five sold-out shows never happen.
Brooks cancelled all five concerts and Ticketmaster refunded 400,000 people after Dublin City Council rejected plans for two of the concerts following more than 300 objections from local residents.
It is understood that the country music singer is now planning five new shows for the stadium in 2022, with Dublin City Council confirming to The Irish Times that it has granted a licence for concerts on September 9th, 10th and 11th of that year.
An application for two more dates, on September 16th and 17th, 2022, has also been received by the council.
Boding well for the plans, a Dublin councillor said on Thursday that the relationship between the GAA and the community around Croke Park is now “much better” than in 2014.
Cllr Nial Ring told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show that there was “an absolutely toxic relationship between the GAA and the local community” in the past.
“It was all to do with the community centre and handball centre, which the GAA were trying to get from the community,” he said.
“The communications were also appalling. There was the announcement of three concerts — before we even had to digest that in the local community, they announced four and then five. It was treating the local community with absolute contempt.”
Cllr Ring said that the relationship with the GAA was now “much better” amid a new €15 million handball and community centre for the area.
“If we can sit down — which we will as adults, and without any of the sideshow like the Mexican ambassador or Garth whinging over in America — I think we can actually come to some agreement,” he said of the concerts planned for 2022.
Consultation with the local community was the key to any agreement, he said.
Ballybough resident Susan Mangan, who has been invited to a meeting next week about the concerts, said a series of big concerts would be positive news for the area, especially after the impact of Covid-19 over the last 18 months.
“No-one wants a repeat of what happened seven years ago. We’ve moved on — we’ve sat around the table many times, and worked out what we don’t want a repeat of,” she said.
“As long as the fans and Croke Park respect the residents’ wishes, it’s going to bring much-needed business to the pubs, hotels, and street traders who are finally going to sell those hats they’ve had to put away for seven years.”
However, a representative for another community group said that they had not yet received any communication from the GAA. Anthony Kelly of the District 7 Community Alliance said that his group had not heard anything about the meeting.
We’re back to the situation where everything is announced on the TV
“Once again, we’re back to the situation where everything is announced on the TV,” he said.
Mr Kelly said that with All-Ireland finals “the whole of September” would mean restrictions for residents and see extra traffic in the area.
Locals would potentially be happy to accept five gigs if there was a proper traffic management plan and consultation with local residents and community groups, he said.
Cllr Ring noted that the All-Ireland finals next year were likely to return to late August.