PRICE gouging in the entertainment industry was widely condemned at a meeting of the local authority, now that major acts are returning to Ireland after the pandemic.
The matter was highlighted by Councillor Pat McMahon who said that only Ed Sheeran had provided “reasonably-priced tickets” last year and played venues around the country.
Calling on the County to request that the Consumer Protection Commission would examine pricing of “high-profile concerts and major events in Ireland”, the Newmarket man, said he had been alerted to the problem by family, neighbours and friends.
He outlined that after researching the matter, he became aware that two major global companies dominated ticket sales and concert bookings.
“What amazes me it was no competition whatsoever,” he said. “If you look closely at the major concerts on in Ireland, only two major firms are mentioned all the time. I’m talking about the major concerts, The smaller concerts have smaller companies running them. It’s amazing in a democracy that no one has ever challenged this.”
The Fianna Fáil member pointed out that people can now travel abroad to see the same acts at far lower prices.
The motion was seconded by Councillor PJ Ryan. “I think It’s a very timely motion,” he said. “It’s certainly something that that needs to be looked at. There seems to be a huge discrepancy between prices here and and prices in the rest of Europe. There’s somebody creaming it off somewhere along the line.”
Councillor Mary Howard also spoke in support of the motion. “It’s very real what Councillor McMahon was speaking about,” she said.
“Even if you’re looking at Bruce Springsteen tickets for next year, though they sold out minutes in Ireland. They are about €60 or €70 a piece cheaper in some European areas. You could go to Rome for about €50 less per ticket. I would like to see why we are paying so much more than anybody else. If anybody’s got two Bruce Springsteen tickets going a-begging, by the way, I’ll take them.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn described the motion as “very relevant”. “The price gouging that’s going on in the cost of high level entertainment in this country is very extreme,” he said.
“My children, who are in their 20s, for Christmas, purchase tickets for concerts in Ireland for my wife and I. We’ve been to Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. We’re going to Blondie this year.
“When we tried to get a hotel in Dublin, the price price gouging around the concerts in Dublin is appalling. It’s €320 the night before, €570 on night and €320 the night after. There’s price gouging going on throughout the entertainment and the hospitality sector around these festivals.”
Summing up, Councillor McMahon thanked colleagues for their support. “I’d like to commend an exception to the rule, that being Ed Sheeran,” he said.
“I’m told, to be fair to man, that he came around the country and provided reasonable tickets. I’d like to thank Thomond Park too. Those were sell-out concerts and our friends and families only had to travel a short distance.”
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 065 6864146.