Anti-touting measures are 'significant risk' to Viagogo's Limerick staff

Anti-touting measures are 'significant risk' to Viagogo's Limerick staff

The introduction of anti-ticket touting measures would pose 'significant risk' to the operation of Viagogo in Limerick, potentially putting 200 jobs at risk.

Lobbyists representing VGL Support Services Ireland Limited, a member of the Viagogo Group which is responsible for the company's customer service operation in Limerick, contacted some 20 members of the Oireachtas shortly before Christmas to warn against the implementation of measures which would ban the re-selling of tickets for more than their original price.

The anti-touting bill was approved by Cabinet last July and is due to come back before the Dáil before the end of this month.

Among those contacted by Viagogo's representatives were three Government ministers, three senators and 14 TDs, most of whom are from Limerick or Clare.

Recipients include Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and Ministers of State, Pat Breen, and Patrick O'Donovan. Former Finance Minister Michael Noonan was also contacted, as were Limerick TDs Willie O'Dea, Tom Neville and Noel Collins.

The materials sent to the representatives included a legal opinion on the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill 2017 which claims that there are 'profound legal problems with the Bill concerning constitutional issues, property rights, Garda powers, citizens' rights, EU law and other possible unforeseen but adverse consequences of the Bill.'

"If the bill is enacted, it will likely pose a very significant threat to the operation of Viagogo in this State and the employment of its staff in Limerick," the letter states.

Currently, 200 people are employed at Viagogo's operation in Limerick and the letter indicates plans to increase this number to 350 in the coming years.

"There can be no doubt as to the damaging impact the Bill will have on Viagogo," the letter notes.

It will undermine its business model in such a way as to make its business not viable and it will result in significant risk to the continuation of its Customer Services Operations Centre in Limerick, and the local jobs provided at that facility.

Neither Fine Gael TD, Noel Rock, nor Fianna Fáil TD, Stephen Donnelly, who co-sponsored the bill, were lobbied.

Mr Rock dismissed the claims as an attempt to 'muddy the waters' of the debate surrounding above-cost selling of tickets: "We always knew that this would happen. The fact is, these lobbyists are trying to subvert the will of all parties and of the vast majority of people who want above-cost selling banned."

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