Fine Gael Dublin North West TD Noel Rock has taken on and confronted ticket touts in advance of this weekend’s eagerly anticipated international rugby match.
Demand to see Ireland play England at the sold out Aviva stadium has seen prices sky rocket, with touts charging punters up to €1,000 a ticket for Saturday’s game.
Deputy Rock’s Bill to outlaw the fast-cash practice which targets ticketless supporters has already passed the first stage in the Dáil. This week he took to the streets to tackle touts on their exorbitant prices.
The deputy met one seller in Dublin city centre, who was selling two tickets in row Q in the north stand for €550.
The second seller, who runs his own touting business, tried to charge €600 per ticket without revealing where the seats were. He also asked for an over-the-phone card payment.
Deputy Rock asked both sellers if they thought it was fair to overcharge fans for the tickets.
The private seller said he had people offering to pay more, while the online tout hung up the phone.
Deputy Rock said: “Fundamentally I disagree with ticket touting. It stops fans like you and me from going to matches and concerts at the price we should be going to them for.
“The IRFU disagree with touts, the GAA disagree with touting, the FAI disagree with touting, but the law doesn’t disagree with touting.
“That’s why I’ve proposed a Bill to change the law and make sure that above cost ticket selling will no longer take place. The law has passed the first stage in the Dáil but it still has a bit further to go.
“But by this time next year, I’m hopeful that fans like you and me no longer have to pay exorbitant prices to go to the concerts and the matches that we want to see.
The proposed bill aims to prohibit the resale of tickets for concerts and sporting events for more than their face value.
Fine Gael’s Deputy Rock said legislation was necessary because regulation was not functioning, and said his Bill was based on Belgian legislation which has had a positive effect.
The move was prompted earlier this year by the mounting anger among U2 fans who were unable to buy tickets for the band’s Croke Park concert in before they sold out. Tickets soon became available through resale websites and private touts at inflated prices.
The government’s Competition Watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is currently investigating whether competition law has been breached in relation to the sale of tickets and the operation of ticketing services for live events.The watchdog’s investigation will focus primarily on any allegations of potentially anti-competitive conduct.