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Touts: the government looks on while the scandal continues
The grey market in tickets is a growing problem. So why does the Government appear so reluctant to address the issue?
Paul Nolan, 12 Mar 2007
The Government parties have resoundingly failed to come up with an effective policy for dealing with the problem of ticket touting. Asked by hotpress to outline their proposals for dealing with the issue, Fianna Fail declined to offer a response, whilst in a curiously worded statement, which focused exclusively on sport and ignored music altogether, their junior partners, the Progressive Democrats, advocated the continued self-regulation of the three main national sporting bodies, the IRFU, the GAA and the FAI.
The opposition parties, for their part, uniformly supported the position adopted by MCD and Ticketmaster in a recent edition of hotpress, which saw both organisations call for the introduction of legislation to deal with the issue of touting.
Leading the way is Fine Gael Arts, Sports and Tourism spokesman Jimmy Deenihan, who has updated the party’s Ticket Tout Bill, which was first introduced in 2005, only to be voted down by the government parties.
In the explanatory memorandum which introduces the updated Bill, it is stated that, “The purpose of the Bill is to render it a criminal offence to advertise for sale, offer for sale or to sell a ticket for a major musical, sporting or theatrical event at a price in excess of the price designated on the ticket.” Fine Gael says it plans to introduce the Bill if it enters government following the forthcoming general election.
Fine Gael’s prospective coalition partners in Labour have also called for measures to combat ticket touting. Kathleen Lynch TD stated that “the Government must introduce legislation to make it an offence to offer for sale a ticket for an event above its face value. This measure should not just be directed against street touts, but should also aim to stop the corporate black market sector. There should also be a clampdown on tickets sold over the internet.”
Meanwhile, the Green Party, in the shape of Mark Deary – owner of the Spirit Store Venue in Dundalk, where he is a town councillor – and Sinn Fein have also joined the growing chorus of voices calling on the Government to use legislation to tackle the touting problem.