Garth Brooks: I'll drop to my knees and beg Enda Kenny to let Croke Park shows go ahead
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Garth Brooks: I'll drop to my knees and beg Enda Kenny to let Croke Park shows go ahead

GARTH Brooks has said he will "drop to his knees and beg" Taoiseach Enda Kenny to allow his five night stand at Croke Park go ahead.

The country singer spoke of his devastation at the cancellation of the Dublin concerts, but he remains hopeful that they can be salvaged. He added that he did not see the Croke Park cancellations coming.

In his first address to the media during a press conference in Nashville this afternoon, the singer fielded questions surrounding the decision to cancel the Dublin gigs and the likelihood of reinstating them before the ticket refund process begins on Monday.

Referring to  the Irish authorities, he said: "With a simple yes you can make 400,ooo people happy. It's a simple yes. Open it up for everybody let them have fun. Then go to work on letting it not happen again. Don't sell a show you are just going to cancel on them. It's not okay."

The singer said he was "treated like a king" when he travelled to Dublin to announce the shows in January but was "shocked, dumbfounded, whatever" when he was told that only three of the five shows could go ahead.

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He said: "Up to two weeks ago there was nothing but love. Then it came 'we're okay on three but you're going to have to figure out what to do about the other two.

"Anybody who knows us knows we don't do a golden circle. We don't do higher ticket prices. Everyone pays the same price. We treat everybody equal. So now what do I do with 160,000 people? I don’t have a clue how we got here.

"They said to me 'you can make 200,000 people happy - I said you can make 400,000 people happy'.

"If the prime minister (Taoiseach) himself wants to talk to me, I will crawl swim fly over to him this weekend. I will drop on my knees and beg him just to let those 400,000 people see me.

Brooks also spoke about his love for Ireland saying the country should "never be embarrassed" by the debacle adding that the Irish are "the most loving people on the planet- they will eat you alive. Ireland is a great place."

The singer added that that was the recent he had chosen Ireland as the destination for his comeback from retirement.

He said: "If you can pick one place on the planet to show them the most epic show was coming - Ireland was the place to pick."

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In response to a question as to if he would ever perform in Ireland again should the concerts not go ahead, he added: "I don't think you can talk about a future with Ireland until Ireland has a system that works."

During the press conference the country singer also announced a new album, a world tour and a record deal with Sony Music and RCA Nashville.

Opening with news of the new deal - and with reference to Croke Park - he said: "It's a day of joy but after everything that has happened in the last 10 days it's under a black cloud."

He is expected to release the first taste of new material in the coming weeks.

Earlier in Dublin, a meeting was due to take place this afternoon between Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke, Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan and mediator Kieran Mulvey, but it has been called off.

It was requested by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and was an attempt to reach a compromise over the staging of the concerts.

The cancellation of the concerts has become a national issue in Ireland, with Dublin’s Chamber of Commerce stating that the economy could lose out on a €50 million windfall if the Garth Brooks concerts do not go ahead.

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The Taoiseach decided to intervene in the fiasco on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the situation, placing increasing pressure on Dublin City Council to reach a more favourable outcome, after their original decision to only permit licenses to three of the five concerts.

He is understood to have spoken by phone with mediator Kieran Mulvey, who has now begun new discussions with the city council’s chief executive Owen Keegan in a final attempt to save the concerts.

"The Government is open to a positive outcome,” his spokesman said.

On Wednesday evening, in a heartfelt open letter to Aiken Promotions, Brooks confessed that he was “heartbroken” with the Council's decision and indicated that he has not given up on the shows going ahead.

In the letter he said: “I cannot begin to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now. I hope you understand that to play for 400,000 people would be a dream, but to tell 160,000 of those people that they are not welcome would be a nightmare.

“To do what the city manager suggests (play three shows and not all five) means I agree that that is how people should be treated and I just can’t agree with that.

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“Our guys are still en route and if there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged and nobody is being let down then we can proceed as planned until the refunds begin.”

The council’s decision not to grant permission to two of the five shows came a week ago, after the GAA confirmed that the Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 July dates would not go ahead.

With no right to appeal the decision and the inability to stage the concerts elsewhere – the shows were customised for Croke Park – many of the 70,000 ‘overseas’ Brooks fans living in Britain who had tickets to the shows were left angry and upset.

Many are still unsure whether they will be able to claim back travel and accommodation costs to the Dublin gigs, as one fan from Walsall explained.

Adam Guest, 29, said: “I booked two tickets for myself and my girlfriend for her birthday. We’re not going on holidays this year because we are booked to go to the concert in Croke Park.

Mr Guest also revealed that he had spent £600 on flights, tickets and a hotel and does not know whether he will be able to recoup the total amount.

Two major hotel groups, however, have offered to refund fans in full for rooms booked during the ill-fated Croke Park shows due to “exceptional circumstances.”

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Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group and Jurys will offer refunds to fans following the cancellation of the sold out concerts in Dublin’s Croke Park over July 25-29.