The scrapped Garth Brooks gigs were of national significance and comparable with major events like the Special Olympics, GAA chief Paraic Duffy has claimed.
Before a parliamentary committee, the Croke Park boss blamed the fiasco on an “irresistible social force” which gripped the country after an initial two concerts were announced.
Mr Duffy, the director general of the GAA, said the two sold out shows were controversially extended to five on the request of promoter Peter Aiken amid “complex and fast moving” events.
The informed music industry had been “simply overwhelmed” by an “extraordinary and unpredictable social phenomenon”, he told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.
“This was simply a case where the public reaction utterly defied logic and conventional wisdom,” he told TDs and senators, holding hearings into the row.
“What had simply been a concert became a national event.
“What had simply been a night out became an unmissable national celebration.”
The GAA chief said there was perhaps something particularly and exuberantly Irish about the creation of what would have been “the great Irish celebratory experience of the summer of 2014”.
Mr Duffy said his organisation agreed to the promoter’s request for extra concerts as it was conscious of the magnitude of the country music star’s comeback.
“The GAA was conscious of its own tradition of making the stadium available for important events of national significance, be it the Special Olympics, soccer or rugby internationals, the Eucharistic Congress and a possible rugby world cup in Ireland,” he told the hearing.