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Irish Govt Steps In After Row Over U2 Concert

The Irish government moved on Tuesday to fast-track new regulations on the licensing of outdoor rock concerts after tickets for a gig by Irish band U2 sold out in record time, to the anger of disappointed fans.

Tickets for the concert, to be held outside Dublin on August 25, were snapped up in 45 minutes at the weekend resulting in furious scenes and a police presence as thwarted fans, many of whom had queued overnight, refused to disperse.

Promoters want to stage a second U2 concert at the same venue – in the grounds of Slane Castle in County Meath – but current Irish law requires that planning permission is applied for and time is allowed for objectors to state their case.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Environment Minister Noel Dempsey said in a joint statement Tuesday they were introducing as a priority measure a new licensing system which would shorten the decision-making process.

A number of Irish celebrities, including boy band personality Ronan Keating, have put their weight behind a campaign to allow U2 to play a second date.