Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor heard the calls as one TD advised that the same approach to touting should be taken as the US government took to taking down mafia boss Al Capone.
The Dáil heard the debate as consumers continue to express frustration over the recent resale of U2 tickets for multiples of their cost on resale websites.
Ticketmaster has come under fire after U2 tickets on its site, after being sold out, immediately appeared on its sister site Seatwave for multiples of the original price. In some cases, sellers have asked for up to €1,000 for a ticket.
Noel Rock, a Fine Gael TD who wants to change the rules on ticket selling, said there was technology to prevent such reselling. The Dublin North West TD is preparing a bill on the matter.
He told the Dáil: “There are three simple rules which could be imposed on Ticketmaster or other primary sellers of tickets which would prevent industrialised, professionalised ticket touting: Limit the number of tickets an individual can buy; use the original debit or credit card on entry to a venue; match the name on the ticket with a photo ID.”
Commission for the resale of tickets on sites amounted to up 20%, he added.
Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said the Government needed to tackle ticket touting like the US had tackled organised crime.
“When the US authorities were unable to get Al Capone for murder, they got him for taxes,” said Mr Healy-Rae. “Are those who are involved in ticket touting in Ireland on a professional basis or otherwise 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. I remind the House that when Al Capone could not be got for one thing, he was got for taxes.”
Ms Mitchell O’Connor said consultation was underway on the issue. However, she warned about driving ticket sales underground or to another country.
“Expert reviews on this issue in a number of countries, including the UK, have concluded that legislative regulation is not warranted or is unlikely to be effective,” she said.