(05-19-2005) Locals in Legal Move for Extra U2 Gig Tickets -- Belfast Telegraph* - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-19-2005, 12:57 PM   #1
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(05-19-2005) Locals in Legal Move for Extra U2 Gig Tickets -- Belfast Telegraph*

Locals in Legal Move for Extra U2 Gig Tickets

Shane Hickey

19 May 2005
A legal battle is looming over next month's U2 concerts in Croke Park after local residents accused the GAA of reneging on an offer of up to ?360,000 in free tickets to them.

An umbrella group which claims to represent 10,000 residents around Croke Park is seeking legal advice after a dispute on allocation of 4,800 free tickets to the locals.

A meeting between the Croke Park Area Residents' Alliance (CPARA), local politicians, the stadium management firm and promoters MCD yesterday broke down in disagreement. The residents' alliance argues a deal between residents and the GAA guarantees locals 4,800 tickets.The dispute concerns a 2003 deal between the GAA and residents which apparently allows for 20 pairs of tickets for each 10,000 people present for a non-GAA event in Croke Park.

CPARA chairperson Patrick Gates equated this to 4,800 tickets over the three nights, with 80,000 people present for all five areas of the residents' alliance.

Croke Park management has said an offer to give away 3,200 tickets and make 1,600 more available for payment was fair, saying a legal battle would be a huge waste of money.

The original deal was brokered when residents agreed to withdraw planning objections to a number of recent building developments at Croke Park.

A meeting between the two sides yesterday, including representatives of local TD, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, ended in disagreement over the number of tickets to be allocated.

Mr Gates said the GAA was constantly trying to dilute its commitment to the deal with locals. He said the residents' group had been in contact with solicitors and members of the Bar Council with the view of taking legal action on the matter.

The deal is due for renewal next year, but residents say they want it honoured this year before any renegotiation.

Croke Park stadium manager Peter McKenna said the agreement was badly drafted. There was nothing in it to say tickets would be provided for free.

Mr McKenna said the suggestion of appointing an arbitrator to deal with the matter had been refused by the residents' association. He said that the offer of 3,200 free tickets had been very fair.

"In the interpretation of our legal opinion, there are no free tickets due so I think we have been more than generous."

--Belfast Telegraph
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