Ireland’s minister for business and enterprise, Heather Humphreys, has rejected Viagogo’s claims that anti-touting legislation is unconstitutional.
The controversial ticketing site sent legal advice to the minister stating that the Prohibition of Above-cost Ticket Touting Bill could breach ticketholders’ property rights and EU law.
The legislation would make reselling sports and concert tickets with a capacity of more than 1,000 for above the face value price illegal.
Viagogo also questioned the bills clause that would give gardaí, the police service of the Republic of Ireland, the right to confiscate passes from suspected touts.
The ticketing firm also drew attention to the fact that exemption for charities would include the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), as well as the Abbey and Gate theatres.
The advice from Viagogo, which was sent in November, said: “This bill is entirely misguided. A clear issue arises as to its constitutionality and its compatibility with EU law.”
Humphreys said in correspondence released under freedom of information law, according to the Times: “While ultimately only the courts can determine the constitutionality of a legislative provision, I am satisfied from the legal advice available to me that the bill does not constitute an unjust or unconstitutional attack on the property rights of ticket holders.
“In my view, the aim of the bill in seeking to prevent profiteering provides a legitimate and proportionate basis for the regulation of those property rights.”
According to the Times, she said that the government was awaiting legal advice on the charity exemption and powers for gardaí.
Humphreys also rejected suggestions from Viagogo, which employs 300 people at its headquarters in Limerick, that the bill would threaten jobs.
She said: “I very much hope that legislation which gives effect to the clear wish of the Irish public and parliament for greater fairness in access to tickets for entertainment and sporting events will not affect the continuation and the planned expansion of the company’s operations.”
Noel Rock, the Fine Gael TD, who proposed the bill with Stephen Donnelly of Fianna Fáil, added: “The claims of constitutional issues from Viagogo were evidently spurious: it’s very clear that – given, as per a ticket’s own T&Cs, it isn’t the property of the purchaser – restricting the resale of said ticket does not and could not ever infringe on property rights.”