Westlife at Croke Park... 3 days to go

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Westlife at Croke Park... 3 days to go
Goodbye to fans... hello to €10m
Pop sensations Westlife have plenty to celebrate despite splitting up this weekend - with an estimated €10 million pay day from their two final Irish shows in Croke Park.

The chart-toppers are calling it quits after a stellar 14 year career but a music industry insider reckons theyíll take a whopping final pay cheque with them of nearly €2.5 million apiece.

Westlife are bowing out with 160,000 fans flocking two grand finale shows on Friday and Saturday and shelling out anything from €59.50 to €89.50 each for tickets.

Other thousands of fans will be watching the show being screened live in dozens of Irish cinemas and in nearly 100 cinemas in the UK.

Screenings are also taking place in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands and Norway.

"With tickets averaging at €75 apiece, the band stand to earn a gross of €12 million for the two shows," said a music business insider. "They'll probably earn several more millions in merchandising at the show - T-shirts, posters and other farewell souvenirs. Then there's the cinema broadcast of the shows. After the venue is paid and the promoter takes his cut and expenses, I suppose there should easily be €10 million left for the band."

This windfall will be welcomed by one band member in particular, as just last week Shane Filan revealed his devastation at being declared bankrupt in a UK court.

The chart-topper released a heart-breaking statement about his serious financial problems and is determined to rebuild his future for his family.

He said: "Following increasing financial difficulties, and having exhausted all other options, earlier this week I was declared bankrupt in Kingston County Court.

"It was a very difficult decision to take, but the most responsible course of action, given the debts I owe to banks on property investments.

"Together with a team of financial and legal experts I have spent months exploring all possible alternatives to bankruptcy but to no avail.

"I have worked long and hard to try to reduce my debts, and I am devastated that it came to this conclusion. I now intend to focus on the remaining dates of the Westlife tour and my commitments to the band before looking to rebuild a future for my wife, my three children and myself.

While his fellow band members are looking forward to new careers in the entertainment business Shane, 32, is dealing with massive debts.

Earlier this year Shane's property company Shafin Developments, which he owned jointly with his brother Finbarr, went into receivership.

Both Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland are pursuing debts. In May Ulster Bank appointed Patrick Horkan of KPMG as receiver as the company owed the bank €5.5 million. This is not thought to be the entire debt owed to all the banks which is estimated to be as high as €10 million.

Shafin Developments had accumulated losses of €3 million by the end of 2010 and a bank debt of around €5 million.
One of their loans from Bank of Ireland was for €1.3 million which was used to purchase farmland in Co Leitrim and a stretch of mountainside where the family kept horses. The property ventures were also funded by Anglo Irish Bank.

Shane hit the headlines in September when he sold his vintage Aston Martin in England for just under €400,000 which he bought as a 30th birthday present to himself.

The family are believed to have moved from their stunning home in Sligo to Surrey over the Christmas holidays.

Meanwhile Shane and his fellow bandmates Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Kian Egan - who sold over 44 million records during their career - are performing in Glasgow tonight in their final date of their UK tour.

However, Nicky has already admitted they all have mixed feelings about the decision to call time on the band.

"I think it was the right time to end but nobody knows - how do you ever know?" he said. "If I'm being honest I probably thought we could get more out of it and it wasn't for the sake of money - I just knew that it was such an amazing thing or journey and I always felt that it was a shame to let it go. Then when we all came round to the decision I still look back and think have we made the right decision? I mean, who wouldn't? "

He added: "At the same time I do believe that it would have gone more pear-shaped than anyone would have wanted."



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About this author

kathryn.rogers@thestar.ie
Staff Reporter
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