Touting laws to be fast-tracked as it emerges tickets for England Six Nations clash selling for €2,000

Touting laws to be fast-tracked as it emerges tickets for England Six Nations clash selling for €2,000

Legislation to halt ticket touting in Ireland is expected to be passed before St Patrick's Day.

Fine Gael backbencher, Noel Rock, has confirmed that the legislation is to come before the Dáil next Tuesday and that he anticipates it will be resolved within a matter of weeks.

Cabinet backed the bill last summer but Mr Rock conceded that the progress of the bill has been 'glacial' since. However, it has now been fast-tracked by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.

The issue of above-cost selling re-emerged this week when it transpired that tickets for Ireland's Six Nations clash with England are being re-sold on secondary ticketing site Viagogo.

The tickets, which have a face value of €150, are being resold at prices ranging from €422 to €2,032.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Rock said: "I’ve been banging on about this for three years. That’s why I wrote the Bill and put it before the Dáil. I’m not a Minister, I’m just a backbench TD. It all takes time.”

In recent weeks, the Irish Examiner reported that 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, had contacted 20 members of the Oireachtas outlining its opposition to the proposals to ban above-cost selling. The company said that 200 jobs in its Limerick office would be 'at risk' if the measures move ahead.

Mr Rock insists that there is strong support for the bill. He said that a poll indicates 91% support for the legislation - even if it results in job losses.

"The 91% of the Irish public, including myself, who are in favour of this legislation, are grateful for [Minister Heather Humphreys'] common sense approach. There has been a lot of spin and distortion by well-paid lobbyists in relation to this, but the reality is that this legislation has been enacted elsewhere, has been effective elsewhere, the public overwhelmingly support it, and we have committed to it as part of hosting games in Euro 2020.

"It’s time to push on, enact this law and make sure the playing field is levelled for real fans of sport and music alike."

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