Dáil debates

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational and Sporting Events) Bill 2021: From the Seanad

 

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

1:15 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments No. 1 to 9, inclusive, are related and will be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 1:

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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The amendments made to the Bill by the Seanad all relate to the deletion of references to UEFA Euro 2020 tickets or ticket packages in the Bill as passed by Dáil Eireann. Acceptance of the amended sections entails accordingly the deletion of such references and the technical amendments made in consequence of the removal of provisions relating to the UEFA Euro 2020 football championship in the Bill as passed by the Dáil. All the amendments to the Bill are Government amendments. No amendments were moved by the Opposition in the Seanad.

The Bill, as initiated, included a provision at section 20 banning the unauthorised sale or advertisement for sale of a UEFA Euro 2020 ticket or ticket package for matches or official events during the scheduled Euro 2020 football championship. Its inclusion stemmed from a commitment given by Government to UEFA as part of the bid for hosting a number of matches during the tournament in Dublin. No matches were, in fact, held in Dublin due to the pandemic. It now transpires that the legislation will not be enacted and commenced before the end of the Euro 2020 tournament on 11 July. The rationale for retaining provisions relating to UEFA Euro 2020 as part of the Bill therefore no longer exists.

References to UEFA Euro 2020 were included in the Long Title, where it states that the Bill is to provide "that a secondary ticket seller shall not sell or advertise for sale a UEFA EURO 2020 ticket or ticket package unless authorised by UEFA to do so". The definitions in section 2 include a definition of a "UEFA EURO 2020 ticket or ticket package" as "a ticket or ticket package for a football match or official event taking place during the UEFA EURO 2020 football championship" and where "UEFA" means "the Union of European Football Associations".

The contract terms in section 19 refer to "a term in a contract between a primary ticket seller and another person for the sale of a ticket or a ticket package" and shall be void. It would not apply to subsection 19(2)(a) "for the sale of a UEFA EURO 2020 ticket or ticket package". There are also technical references in sections 20, 23, 24 and 26.

Seanad Éireann has accepted the removal of these provisions and I propose their removal also to this House.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 2:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 3:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 4:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 5

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 6:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 7:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 8:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 9:

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments reported.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Agreement to the Seanad amendments is reported to the House. A message will be sent to Seanad Éireann acquainting it accordingly.

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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On behalf of the Tánaiste, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Deputies for their interest in, and contribution to, the passage of this Bill through the Dáil. The organised purchase of tickets by touts and secondary sellers to make a quick profit at the expense of real music and sports fans is about to come to an end with this Bill, and rightly so. The Bill bans the resale of tickets above face value and, in doing so, protects real fans of music, sports and other events and prevents the profiteers and scalpers who add nothing of value through this type of carry-on.

I thank the Tánaiste and Minister of State, Deputy Troy, who led the Bill through the Houses. I also thank the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, former Deputy, Noel Rock, and Deputy Quinlivan for their work in pursuing this policy. The Tánaiste particularly welcomes the support for the Bill from all sides of both Houses of the Oireachtas. The passage of this Bill will facilitate fairer access for fans to tickets for cultural, entertainment, recreational and sporting events and will be beneficial to all consumers. We look forward to more of society and the economy reopening, hopefully in the near future, in line with the successful vaccine roll-out, and being able to attend live events again in a safe and fair way. The Tánaiste looks forward to the enactment of the Bill shortly and to it being in force at an early date.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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I thank the Minister of State. I too wish to be associated with the thanks he gave to everybody involved. This legislation is long overdue but it is a good initiative that is badly wanted. We need to have control of tickets. It is obnoxious to see the blackmail that touts carry out, particularly on kids who are very interested in a team, or whatever.

Families were put under huge pressure to get tickets any which way. I have thankfully never bought a ticket off a tout but many people are forced to have to do so. It is, therefore, good legislation. I ask the Minister of State, although perhaps he cannot reply, when exactly it will actually be signed into law and implemented.

We need to get people back to sporting events and back to enjoying music. Musicians need to be allowed to impart their wonderful culture, heritage and entertainment for people to receive and enjoy. Let the people live again. Do not have then frightened and cowering in fear. Get them out to enjoy society and concerts and a few sets and rincí agus rudaí mar sin freisin. People are waiting and eager to bolt out of lockdown and out of their houses like young calves let out into the field from the shed. They go wild for a while. They do not go really wild but they want to get out faoin spéir.

1:25 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I thank the Deputy. Deputy Quinlivan has some brief closing remarks.

Photo of Maurice QuinlivanMaurice Quinlivan (Limerick City, Sinn Fein)
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I will be very brief, a Cheann Comhairle. I welcome that the Bill is going through with the amendments. We have listened to some of the groups that were concerned. Some of the sporting groups have been listened to, which is quite good. It is past time that we have legislated for this and it is great to see that it has almost come to a conclusion.

Like Deputy Mattie McGrath, we would like to know when this legislation will be enacted. It is really good news for people who want to go to events. We are all looking forward to emerging from the crisis and the pandemic we are in at the moment and getting back to sporting events. Hopefully, many people will attend these events and be able to buy tickets and not be scourged like they were before. This is really good news. I welcome the passing of the Bill on behalf of my party.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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In a word, when is the Bill likely to be enacted?

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste has confirmed that it will be enacted as early as possible.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is good. I thank the Minister of State.