UK proposes plans to fight touts

Should Ireland explore similar measures?

UK proposes plans to fight touts

Thibault Camus AP/Press Association Images

Recent high profile sell-outs from U2, Ed Sheeran and Radiohead have focused attention on the contentious issue of ticket-touting.

As the touting industry goes high-tech there are growing calls for tougher regulations to be introduced to combat price gouging.

In the UK the House of Lords has put forward a motion to alter its Digital Economy bill to include measures to fight touts.

Among the reforms would be a rule which would make it illegal for re-sale sites such as Seatwave, StubHub, Viagogo and GetMeIn to sell tickets to events without written permission from the event's organisers allowing them to sell tickets.

It could carry a fine of up to £5,000 for selling tickets for in-demand gigs at inflated prices.

The use of 'bots' - software designed to block-buy tickets - would risk 12 month jail sentences. The proposed rules also include provisions for organisers to take additional legal action.

Internet service providers would also be called on to cut internet access for touts.

The proposals will be debated by the House of Lords during the coming days.

In Ireland, Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock has called for the fast-tracking of legislation banning the sale of tickets at inflated prices.

"I have been inundated with people contacting me regarding examples of ticket touting following the sale of U2 concert tickets this morning. This will be one of the biggest concerts of the year and consumers are now being asked to pay a large figure, well over face value, to attend. It’s just not fair on true fans who couldn’t obtain a ticket this morning. The Government now has to act swiftly to outlaw the reselling of tickets over face value," he said after U2 instant Croke Park sellout.

TD for Wicklow & East Carlow Stephen Donnelly has also issued an open call for collaborators to draft proposals to tackle the issue.

Tickets.ie, Ireland’s largest independent ticketing company, recently created 20 new jobs to develop new ticketing technologies - including programmes to tackle the problem of these bots hoovering-up tickets for resale.