There's a decent account of it in the Washington Post(!) but the short version goes:
- Garth Brooks is returning to touring after 13 years!
- He'd like to start with 5 concerts in Croke Park!
- And so he met a nice man, and the nice man said he'd set them up, and the nice man took 5 concerts' worth of money (off 400,000 people)
- Except the nice man hadn't actually arranged a licence to do this at all!
- Because Croke Park is actually in a residential area, and there's a long-standing agreement that the GAA, the sports body that owns the venue, will only allow 3 non-sporting events per year to avoid pissing off locals.*
- So when the application went in April, 10 weeks after the concerts sold out, Dublin City Council agreed to allow only 3 of the 5 concerts.
- And in fairness a good day's sleeveening for whoever thought of that, as they must have realised that this would get elided into a fair offer: in fact One Direction took the three nights earlier in the year, and the appropriate amount of days would be none; Hibernophiles will recognise the sensation of the ground sliding away on first contact.
- But Garth won't have it! How can he only entertain 240,000 people, when he's ready to thrill 400,000? It would tear the heart right out of him, so it would.
- And so, this has been front page news for the last week in Ireland, and the Mexican Ambassador has been willing to help if he can, and An Taoiseach will look into it, and people get to cover their face again and admit that we had you all going for a while there, with this idea that we were a real country.
- And the worst bit isn't that the disgraced and finally removed former Party of Government has sensed that there's an opportunity here, for a blow to be struck in the name of their guiding principles of a quiet word and a handshake and a bulging envelope, and has put forward emergency legislation to allow the overturn of a county council decision where necessary for the global good.
- The worst bit is that they're right, that there's something buried down in the nervous consciousness of the race that is always ready to bend or blunt the law at the whisper and glimmer of Money For The Economy, especially that which can be fleeced from tourists. I got it full blast when I rang my sister, who is scornful that they'd throw away this money, just hanging there, fully €200 million according to no less an august figure than An Taoiseach.
- Don't really have a punchline here, I'm afraid. Moral seems short on the ground, too.
* An article from the BBC has what is perhaps the quintessentially Irish facet of this: This was broken in 2009, when 4 concerts were arranged, there were pickets at the 4th concert, there "was then an agreement made between them and the GAA about the future staging of concerts", except that it was later found that there was "no written evidence" of any such agreement _that they would actually properly from now on, scouts honour, abide by the original agreement_.