Minister says ticket touting affects ‘no more than 50 concerts a year’

Róisín Shortall claims Government ‘is not going to do anything’ to tackle issue

U2’s concert at  Croke Park had given rise to “particular criticism about secondary ticket sales”.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

U2’s concert at Croke Park had given rise to “particular criticism about secondary ticket sales”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

 

Minister of State Pat Breen has defended the Government’s approach to dealing with ticket touting, saying it is a problem in respect of “no more than 50 concerts a year”.

He said Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys remained open to some form of legislation to cap ticket prices.

However, he said that “she has to consider all the options” and was currently “seeking to finalise legislative proposals on ticket resale”.

Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall claimed in the Dáil that the Government “is not going to do anything” about ticket touting and that Ms Humphreys had been considering proposals for a long time.

Mr Breen, who has responsibility for enterprise and small business, said that “if you boil it down to the concerts which give rise to problems, they number no more than 50 a year”.

“We saw recently with Ed Sheeran that because there were three concerts there was no real problem with ticket sales,” he said.

The singer performed nine concerts in Dublin, Cork and Galway in recent weeks.

Mr Breen said that two concerts had given rise to “particular criticism about secondary ticket sales” – the Coldplay and U2 concerts in Croke Park in July last year.

‘Getting worse’

Ms Shortall said ticket touting had been a matter of public concern for a number of years “and it is getting worse, particularly in respect of concerts”.

She said that when she raised the issue in February, Ms Humphreys told her she would prepare proposals “in the near future” and that there were discussions going on with interested parties and at European level.

However, Ms Shortall said it now seemed that “little progress has been made” and she questioned when legislation in the area would be produced.

Two Bills have been introduced, one from Fine Gael TD Noel Rock and Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly, which aims to ban the resale of tickets above face value, while legislation from Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan bans the resale of tickets for more than 10 per cent over face value.

Mr Breen said the evidence was that “while a statutory price cap would act to counter ticket profiteering it is unlikely to improve significantly the ability of fans to obtain tickets for particularly high-demand events”.

He stressed that if legislation was introduced “it must be effective and enforceable”.