There’s no longer the "toxic" atmosphere between the GAA and the local community around Croke Park that led to the Garth Brooks concert fiasco seven years ago, a Dublin councillor has said.
Nial Ring believes an agreement can actually be reached this time around.
There has been much speculation about plans for Garth Brooks concerts for 2022, with the latest reports suggest the country star is looking to play five gigs in Croke Park next September.
For many, the news will immediately bring back memories of the 'five-in-a-row' saga back in 2014.
In that case, all five concerts were ultimately cancelled after promotors failed to secure permission for the fourth and fifth concerts.
There's yet to be any official announcement about the plans for next year's concerts, with Garth himself also keeping mum in a recent video for fans.
However, a meeting between Croke Park management, residents and Aiken Promotions takes place next Thursday about the plans for concerts next year.
Councillor Ring told The Pat Kenny Show things have changed since the ‘absolute circus’ of 2014.
He said: “There was an absolute toxic relationship between the GAA and the local community. It was all to do with the community centre and handball centre, which the GAA were trying to get from the community.
“The communications were also appalling. There was the announcement of three concerts… before we even had to digest that in the local community, they announced four and then five.
“It was treating the local community with absolute contempt.”
Cllr Ring says there’s now a “much better relationship” with the GAA, as well as a new €15 million handball and community centre for the area.
He said: “The whole relationship is different.
“If we can sit down - which we will as adults, and without any of the sideshow like the Mexican ambassador or Garth whinging over in America - I think we can actually come to some agreement.”
However, he stressed consultation with locals is the key.
Susan Mangan, a Ballybough resident who has been invited to next week's meeting, says a series of big concerts would be positive news for the area, especially after the impact of COVID-19 over the last 18 months.
She stressed: “No-one wants a repeat of what happened seven years ago. We’ve moved on - we’ve sat around the table many times, and worked out what we don’t want a repeat of.
“As long as the fans and Croke Park respect the residents’ wishes… it’s going to bring much-needed business to the pubs, hotels, and street traders who are finally going to sell those hats they’ve had to put away for seven years.”
However, Anthony Kelly - chairperson for the District 7 community alliance - says there’s been no communication from the GAA so far, and his group hasn’t heard anything about the planned meeting
He said: “Once again, we’re back to the situation where everything is announced on the TV."
Anthony noted that September is All Ireland final season, which already brings lots of traffic to the area.
He suggested five gigs on top of that would see residents facing traffic and movement restrictions for the “whole of September”.
However, he said locals would potentially be happy to accept five gigs - as long as there’s proper traffic management plans and consultation.
He said: “If there’s going to be something, there has to be proper consultation with all residents and all residents’ groups.”