Week’s events; Garth Brooks, the GAA and the ‘Right to Read’

4th July, 2014

Earlier in the week I attended a Croke Park Residents’ meeting which centred around the five upcoming Garth Brooks concerts scheduled for the end of the month. An agreement from 2009 states that a maximum of three concerns should be held in any one year at the venue and as three One Direction concerts were already held earlier in the summer, frustration within local communities has been gradually building.

There has been much coverage in the media of the mediation process in place between the GAA and local residents, which was chaired by Kieran Mulvey; the decision by Dublin City Council (DCC) to cancel some of the scheduled gather Brooks concerts; and the subsequent response from Garth Brooks himself. The situation is still very much up in the air as DCC yesterday ruled that granting the licence for the upcoming concerts would amount to ‘an over intensification of use of the stadium’. Meanwhile there are tens of thousands of fans that have now been discommoded by that same decision. I agree with the decision of DCC who have done the right thing and hope that agreement can be reached to better manage this in the future.

In the Dáil this week I took Parliamentary Questions on Iraq, Kazakhstan and Ukraine and also gave an account of the European Council meeting I attended with An Taoiseach at the end of June. I took questions from the Opposition on the outcome of the Council and on the subsequent formation of the new European Parliament post-election.

On Thursday, I attended the launch of the ‘Right to Read’ campaign, with, among others, An Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore TD, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke. The campaign puts a local Authority framework in place to support and develop literacy levels in communities right across the country. Literacy will now be prioritised in housing initiatives, sports and recreation and of course through our library network. Each Local Authority will now incorporate the
campaign in their Development Plans and in Local Economic and Community Plans to drive the agenda forward. Literacy Action Plans will also be adopted to chart the path ahead. Ensuring that everyone in the community is given the tools to read and write so that they can forge a better way of life is a basic right. This campaign is another building block in making that right a reality.

This week, I spent as much time as I could meeting with the people of Sheriff Street, listening to their concerns and offing my support in having those concerns addressed and brought to a resolution where I could.