Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Brooks refunds delayed amid talks

Fans with tickets to see Garth Brooks at Croke Park stadium in Dublin are having to wait for refunds
Fans with tickets to see Garth Brooks at Croke Park stadium in Dublin are having to wait for refunds

Negotiations to resurrect country star Garth Brooks' cancelled comeback in Ireland have prompted organisers to delay refunding disappointed ticket holders.

Around 400,000 fans will not receive their money until Thursday because of the discussions, seller Ticketmaster said.

The singer called off five shows he planned to play in Dublin later this month following a battle between venue owners and local residents.

A Ticketmaster statement said: " Ticketmaster understands that negotiations to try and find a resolution to the Garth Brooks concerts situation are still ongoing.

"As a result, Ticketmaster will be delaying commencement of the refunds process until Thursday, July 17th. We would ask fans to continue to be patient and to hold on to their tickets for now."

Senior Irish Government ministers have said they hoped a resolution could be found after the rejection of various alternative proposals to five evening concerts back-to-back from July 25 at Croke Park.

Brooks had been in semi-retirement for more than a decade and the gigs were billed as a comeback for the singer, one of the best-selling musicians in US history.

But residents close to the stadium complained when Brooks announced plans to extend his initial run of concerts to cope with demand from fans.

That sparked a legal bid by some residents to have the shows cancelled and a rival petition calling for them all to go ahead.

The dispute and associated planning matters culminated in Dublin City Council refusing to grant permission for five shows, ruling that they would cause an unacceptable level of disruption for residents and businesses. Licences were given for three nights only, on July 25, 26 and 27.

Brooks responded by releasing a statement to say he would play five shows or none.

"To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another," he said.

He also rejected a compromise proposal for three evening concerts and two matinees over three days.

The star said he would swim, fly or crawl to Ireland for a meeting with Irish premier Enda Kenny to get his extravaganza back on.

Irish environment minister Alan Kelly ruled out passing emergency legislation because it could jeopardise any concert taking place since it may not stand up to a legal challenge.

He said: "I believe this situation can only be solved by all the parties coming together in an atmosphere of calm and with all sides being flexible in their approach.

"If this happens, I would be optimistic that the common good and common sense will prevail as the distance between all parties is not insurmountable."

He said a line needed to be drawn under the controversy over the next 48 hours and asked all sides to engage with each other on this basis.

"I will be taking firm steps to ensure we will never be at this ridiculous juncture again as it is not in anyone's interests," he said.

"I am committed to a carrying out a wholesale review of the way major events are handled and this will be progressed in the coming months as opposed to carrying it out in a rushed manner that is in neither the interests of concert-goers, residents or the planning system in general."

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