Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Dublin handball club denies any hand in Garth Brooks gigs injunction

Brian Duff
Brian Duff

The handball club behind the hardline campaign against the Garth Brooks Croke Park concerts has denied helping a scaffolder who collects glasses in its clubhouse to take a High Court injunction to stop the shows going ahead, it has been revealed.

Brian Duff emerged out of nowhere as a key player in the country-and-western farce when he launched a legal challenge a fortnight ago, then dramatically called it off claiming his life had been threatened.

Mr Duff, who lives in a council flat in Dublin city centre, claimed that he was a concerned local resident who was given €15,000 from unnamed figures "north and south of the border" who "wanted to take the GAA down" to fund the High Court action, and was given a new suit.

Mr Duff collects glasses in the Croke Park Community and Handball Centre, which is at war with the GAA and mounted a vigorous action against the concerts on behalf of its 570 members.

Nial Ring, an independent councillor on Dublin City Council who is on the community handball centre's management committee, confirmed that Brian Duff was associated with the club but said it didn't fund his legal action.

"Brian Duff collects glasses in the clubhouse and he has the odd pint," he said. "He was never approached by the management committee to take an injunction."

The councillor also said the club did not fund Mr Duff's legal action.

"As an accountant who has overseen the accounts of the club, I can tell you that the club does not have €15,000," he said.

The mystery of Mr Duff's backers has fuelled the drama, as the final curtain fell on the Garth Brooks fiasco last week.

Northern Ireland promoter Peter Aiken sold 400,000 tickets for five Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park, but the council licensed only three. Brooks pulled out and last ditch talks to save the shows failed last Monday. Tickets are now being refunded.

The fiasco ended in recrimination before an Oireachtas committee with Owen Keegan, the council's chief executive, who was summoned twice last week to respond to the GAA's claims that he had supported the five shows.

Mr Keegan admitted he initially indicated his support for the five concerts, but insisted he gave no assurances they would go ahead.

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