Garth Brooks: Star's last-gasp plea sparks a behind-the-scenes flurry over Croke Park concerts
A last-ditch plea from Garth Brooks to the powers-that-be in Dublin to save his concerts has sparked a flurry of activity – and a little hope that the star could still perform.
Furious behind-the-scenes moves involving the Taoiseach, Dublin City Council, the GAA and the city's Lord Mayor were under way last night to see if there was any way of reviving the gigs.
Brooks said that a cargo ship carrying his massive staging equipment is still en route to Ireland.
He said that unless he was told by promoter Peter Aiken "thanks but it is all over" he would "faithfully" to the last second try to fulfil his dream of playing to 400,000 fans at Croke Park.
It's estimated that 70,000 ticketholders are from outside the Republic.
However, the tenuous chances of the concerts going ahead still hinge on whether he can get permission for all five nights. In his letter to Belfast promoter Peter Aiken, Brooks said: "If you think for any reason that the 'powers that be' in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second."
As a result Mr Aiken said he was holding onto a sliver of hope after Brooks gave him permission to release the letter publicly.
"I rang him and said 'Can I send it out?'. He said 'If you think it will do any good'," Mr Aiken explained. "I said 'You never know'."
After Brooks' letter was issued to the media, Taoiseach Enda Kenny asked mediator Kieran Mulvey to contact city manager Owen Keegan and Lord Mayor Christy Burke. Then the Republic's four main political parties confirmed they were all in favour of talks.
Sources close to Mr Kenny said emergency legislation was being ruled out, but his Government was open to other options being examined. "In light of Garth Brooks' letter, if there was something we could do that would facilitate a positive outcome, we would consider it," a senior source said.
"We are sending a signal that the door is not shut."
The Lord Mayor said: "Let's hope there can be a rapid review... there is now an olive branch thrown."
Meanwhile, arrangements for fans who bought tickets were announced yesterday. Ticket holders who made the purchase over the phone, online or mobile need do nothing. A full refund, including service charge, will be returned.
For tickets purchased through Ticketmaster, a refund form is available from the company's website. However, people who purchased tickets from unauthorised sellers will need to contact that seller to obtain a refund.
Keith English, the managing director of Ticketmaster Ireland, said the scale of the operation is "unprecedented".
Translink said fans who bought tickets to special coaches will receive refunds .