By Louise Hogan, Irish Independent
FINES imposed over U2's breach of noise-level regulations during their Croke Park homecoming concerts have been branded "paltry" in comparison to the estimated â‚¬20m the concerts made.
Promoters MCD have been hit for â‚¬36,000 by Dublin City Council after the rockers soared over the barrier 12 times during their three concerts in July.
"It is a paltry penalty, it really isn't a disincentive. They would write that off in terms of planning for such things," Pat Gates, chair of the Croke Park Area Residents' Alliance, said.
"Any fines that do accrue to the city council should be invested back into the local community as they were the ones that put up with it."
Around 240,000 fans flocked to see the rock group over the three days. According to US website Billboard.com, U2 had earned more than â‚¬67m ($100m) from the first 13 shows of its 360 Degree tour, including â‚¬19.4m ($28.8m) during the three shows at Croke Park.
A spokesman from Dublin City Council confirmed an environmental officer had clocked the band soaring over the 75 decibel noise level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 12 separate occasions.
They were fined â‚¬3,000 per breach, which amounted to â‚¬36,000. The spokesman confirmed MCD had carried out their own noise pollution checks which showed they were in breach.
However, the super group are not the only ones to break the noise barrier. Last year, promoters were hit with penalties after Bruce Springsteen clocked up nine breaches at the RDS, while a Boyzone concert also broke the barrier.
Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna said promoters MCD had a "good reputation" and would have provided their own figures on noise pollution to the city council.
"The noise disruption does affect people's enjoyment of the area so when the limits are set they should try to adhere to them," he stressed.
He said the fine may not have been a large amount in terms of the U2 concerts but in many cases promoters took financial risks staging other events throughout the year.
Angry residents had staged protests as the stage from the 360 Degree tour was taken apart.
They were annoyed at planning permission granted to the U2 crew to work throughout the night. Mr Gates said residents were next week due to hold further discussions with GAA officials over further concerts.
- Louise Hogan