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Michael Healy-Rae on ticket touts: 'Do it the Al Capone way, they got him on taxes'

TDs urged action to prevent exorbitant ticket touting in a Dáil debate yesterday.

TD Michael Healy-Rae
TD Michael Healy-Rae
Image: RollingNews.ie

MICHAEL HEALY-RAE has called for people who sell on tickets for significantly more than their face value to be taxed on their profits, during a debate on ticket touting in the Dáil yesterday.

Late last week, the government announced the launch of a public consultation on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events.

The announcement came in the wake of tickets going on sale for U2′s Croke Park gigs this summer, which sold out in minutes but then appeared for sale online for prices as high as €1,000.

Speaking at the time, Minister for Enterprise Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “We share the public concern at the resale of tickets for major events at inflated prices.”

Kicking off the debate in the Dáil yesterday, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock put forth draft legislation that he had devised with Independent TD Stephen Donnelly that they feel would address the problem.

The measures include: limiting the number of tickets an individual can buy, using the original debit or credit card on entry to a venue, and match the name on the ticket to a photo ID.

Donnelly raised concerns at the speed at which tickets went for sale at far higher prices on a website called Seatwave, which is owned by Ticketmaster who were the primary seller of the U2 tickets.

He said: “[Ticket touting] is an organised industry with potentially very serious profits, bulk purchasing tickets from a monopoly seller.”

Independent Kerry TD Healy-Rae then weighed in, citing the upcoming Coldplay concert where tickets with a face value of up to €144 are being sold as high as over €600.

“This is nothing short of ridiculous and the worst form of ticket touting,” he said.

After Donnelly expressed concerns around a lengthy consultation period, and pressed the government to take action in the short term, Healy-Rae made a suggestion for another manner in which touting could be tackled.

He said:

When the US authorities were unable to get Al Capone for murder, they got him for taxes. Are those who are involved on a professional basis or otherwise in ticket touting in Ireland paying tax on their exorbitant profits?

“I suggest that if we cannot get them in one way, we might be able to get them in another way. This is terribly important because it is wrong for people who want to go to a sporting event or a concert to be fleeced and robbed in this fashion.

“It is another form of daylight robbery.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor appeared to rule out any swift action on the issue, however, with the public consultation set to go ahead as planned.

She said: “I understand the reasons they and the public are anxious to see action on this issue. If legislation is to be introduced to regulate ticket resale, an established procedure must be followed.

“In Ireland, as in other countries, public consultation is an integral part of the impact analysis process. It is relatively easy to enact legislation, but it is more difficult to ensure that legislation will be effective.”

Read: U2 tickets sold out in minutes this morning – but are already being sold for €1,000

Read: Ticket touting for sports and music events could be coming to an end

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Sean Murray

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