\"Decision

Decision to ban Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park concerts will damage Ireland’s image. Photo by: Getty Images

Garth Brooks cancellation is a disaster for Dublin and decency

\"Decision

Decision to ban Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park concerts will damage Ireland’s image. Photo by: Getty Images

I hate airplane noise so there is no way I’d live near an airport.

I’m also not a fan of loud trains chugging by at all hours of the day or night, so forget about moving near train tracks.

Apparently a few hundred residents living on the cusp of Dublin’s Croke Park, one of the largest outdoor venues in Europe, don’t like being disturbed by the hundreds of thousands of people who pass through the stadium turnstiles each year.

So why the hell are they living there in the first place?

Together with the cowards who hold sway at the Dublin City Council, they’ve managed to destroy the biggest concert happening ever held in Ireland – the start of the eagerly awaited comeback tour by country music superstar Garth Brooks which was to be staged at Croke Park at the end of this month.

Let’s tally up the damage – 400,000 devastated fans from around the world who bought tickets, tens of millions in lost economic activity that businesses all around Dublin banked on, and a huge black eye inflicted on Ireland thanks to the extreme pettiness of this avoidable dispute.

The Los Angeles Times and CNN were leading their entertainment sections with the disaster – bad news for Ireland.

Brooks, the biggest selling recording artist in U.S. history, has been in the news a lot lately. He’s on the verge of formally announcing a world tour and the press has been hanging on his every word given the fact that he’s taken the last 13 years off to raise his family.

I remember thinking how lucky Irish fans were because they were getting him way before anyone else with the five Croke Park shows, which sold out in like two seconds.

He could have played 10 shows and more and still not satisfied the pent-up demand.

Brooks has always said that his massive Irish fan base is especially close to his heart which is why he chose to play Croke Park before anywhere else. He even flew to Dublin in January to promote the concerts, and seemed genuinely taken aback by the huge Irish fan response.

I’m no Garth Brooks fan, but he seems like a pretty stand-up guy. There’s no doubt he would have been out and about on the streets during his Irish stay – with photos of the superstar on tour in Ireland for the first time in 13 years beamed around the world. Ka-ching for tourism!

Enter the cranky Croke Park residents and their supporters who have taken the “not in my backyard” defense to a whole new pathetic extreme. The concert promoters advertised one show, then two, then three – they sold out so fast that fans demanded more, and Brooks was eager to please.

Shows four and five apparently weren’t “authorized” by the Dublin City Council poobahs, and Croke Park residents pitched a fit. What about the noise! The disturbance! The inconvenience of it all! You can’t do this to us!!!!!!!!

What a load of garbage. If it’s peace and quiet these whiners want then why don’t they relocate to one of the many ghost estates still populating Ireland thanks to the Celtic Tiger bust?

It’s not like Brooks fans are the equivalent of those going to headbangers ball. He’s one of the most family friendly performers around, so it’s hardly likely that his followers would look to cause mayhem in the vicinity of Croke Park.

No offense here, but it’s not a stretch to say that some of the GAA fans who go to the venue each week would be rowdier and, um, more fortified with alcohol than Brooks fans. If the residents can deal with this intrusion, what would be the harm in doing so for five Brooks shows that would have brought so much good to their city?

When Dublin City Council pulled the plug on two of the five shows, Brooks said it was five or nothing. Good for him. Why should he allow himself to be bullied by these crabby Croke Park residents and their small-minded enablers on the council?

They must be so proud of themselves with the damage they’ve caused. They’ve won this battle, but the war is another story.

How many performers will be scared to mount a big show in an outdoor stadium in Dublin because of this local squabble? Wouldn’t it just be easier to add another date in London, or maybe Belfast? Yeah, it would.

As for Brooks, who could blame him if he does an Irish flyover from here on in? Croke Park had him, everyone was happy, and then boom, it’s all gone.

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