U2 Onsale Riles Locals

Residents living in the vicinity of Dublin’s Croke Park are angry because U2 is selling tickets for three shows at the venue before the license has been granted.

Any application for a license to hold a concert must be made to the local city council, which then includes it in its weekly planning lists and notifies the Irish press. But the local Dubliners didn’t hear the July 24, 25 and 27 U2 concerts would go ahead until a few days before the planning notice was printed.

“It has been simmering for a number of years but I think this was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” local councilor Emer Costello told the Belfast Telegraph. “The residents are annoyed by the fact that the promoters were allowed to go ahead and sell the tickets before the license was granted.

“There is no mechanism for appeal and it appears to the residents as if they are bypassing the planning procedures. It is a real loophole in the planning process,” she said.

“We’re sick and tired of complaining,” said Barbara Ward from the Clonliffe and District Residents’ Association, adding that residents who live in the vicinity of the ground – the largest sports stadium in Ireland – are frustrated that their voices are not being heard.

However, U2 concert promoter MCD says the license application for the three dates in July was fully compliant with licensing laws.

“MCD in consultation with Croke Park placed a public notice on March 26, as part of the license application for the three U2 concerts,” a company spokesman told the Belfast paper. “In addition Croke Park has raised the issue at a recent Community Liaison Committee meeting, which includes representatives from the local community and local politicians.”

Dublin City Council says that under the licensing regulations, Croke Park is obliged to lodge a detailed event management plan to the planning authority 16 weeks in advance of any proposed event. But the regulations do not preclude a promoter from advertising or selling tickets for an event in advance of the license.

MCD says the event would be of great benefit to the community, providing a euro 100 million stimulus to the economy. The promoters have also made a substantial contribution to the Community Trust Fund.

A stadium rep said the venue followed the usual procedures for the license application, and that it isn’t unusual for a show to go on sale “subject to license” before the license was actually been granted.

He said the stadium has regular contact with the residents’ associations and they will have an opportunity to raise any objections at the next monthly meeting.