Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational, and Sporting Events) Bill 2021: Report and Final Stages

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 15, line 34, to delete "subsection (7)" and substitute "subsection (7) of that section".

On Committee Stage, I signalled that I would introduce these amendments on Report Stage. Amendment No. 1 is a technical amendment. Section 13(6)(e) provides that on hearing an appeal on an application for the designation of an event that has not been the subject of the application for designation under section 9(7), a District Court judge may make an order allowing the appeal and revoking the designation made by the Minister. The present wording states that the judge may make such an order "on the grounds that the requirements of subsection (7) have not been satisfied". The amendment substitutes "subsection (7) of that section" for "subsection (7)" in order to make clear that subsection (7) refers to section 9(7) and brings the wording of paragraph (e) in line with that of paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 13(6).

Amendment No. 2 is a grammatical amendment. Section 19(2) provides for certain exemptions to the prohibition on contract terms that exclude or limit the transfer of tickets or ticket packages for no monetary consideration or their sale for a price not exceeding the original sale price. The second line of section 9(2)(b) refers to "tickets" in the plural, but to "ticket package" in the singular. This amendment provides for this substitution of "tickets or ticket packages" for "the tickets or ticket package".

Sinn Féin will be supporting both amendments, which are technical, as the Minister of State has said. We are delighted to see we have progressed this ticket touting Bill. I, along with many other Deputies, have worked on this issue for many years and I am pleased that we are here now. It is a good day for consumers and for people who want to go to concerts when we get out of the Covid pandemic. It is also good for entertainers. The Government has our full support on this.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 18, line 15, to delete "the tickets or ticket package" and substitute "tickets or ticket packages".

Amendment agreed to.
Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I take this opportunity to thank the Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment for its helpful pre-legislative scrutiny and the Members of the Oireachtas for their constructive engagement on the Bill. I particularly thank Deputy O'Reilly, who proposed a number of amendments on Committee Stage.

Some questions arose from Members during the previous Stage, and I would like to provide reassurance by clarifying matters, as I said I would, on this Stage. It has become apparent that the Bill will not be enacted in advance of the conclusion of the Euro 2020 Championship on 11 July. Therefore, I intend to introduce an amendment to remove these provisions from the Bill on Committee Stage in the Seanad if it is certain that it will not delay enactment of the Bill. It is clear to me that we all want this legislation in place as sporting and arts events reopen. If the amendment might delay enactment in the time left available to us then I will retain the provision but will not commence it, and will have it removed in future legislation.

I do not intend to introduce fees but it is prudent to have the power, as provided in the Bill, to do so at a later date if necessary.

On the question of reducing the capacity to less than 1,000, based on our analysis of where above-cost secondary reselling of tickets arises, this number is set at the appropriate level. However, I will have the power under the Bill to designate specific venues with a lower capacity which will be exercised as necessary.

I am pleased that the key features of the Bill have been welcomed and supported by all sides. I would especially like to thank the other Members of the Oireachtas who have been proactive on this issue for some years. Deputy Quinlivan, the Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment introduced a Private Members' Bill on the matter. I also acknowledge the work of the former Deputy, Noel Rock, and the current Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly.

This legislation will promote fairer access to tickets for cultural, entertainment, recreational and sporting events and will be of real benefit to the many consumers who attend these events. While there are very limited events being held at present due to Covid-19, we need to prepare for what is likely to be a high demand on tickets for events once reopening of the events industry becomes possible. I look forward to returning the Bill to the Seanad, to its enactment shortly thereafter and to it being in force in time for these events.

I again thank Deputies for their co-operation in the passage of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

A message will be sent to the Seanad acquainting it accordingly.