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Undercover gardai target touts

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Innocent Dublin fans watch as a tout tries to sell tickets close to them ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final last year

Innocent Dublin fans watch as a tout tries to sell tickets close to them ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final last year

Innocent Dublin fans watch as a tout tries to sell tickets close to them ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final last year

An undercover garda unit will target ticket touts outside Croke Park tomorrow as they clamp down on people cashing in on the huge demand for the All-Ireland final.

With only 82,000 tickets for the clash between Dublin and Tyrone, supporters have been going into overdrive in an attempt to get sorted for the showpiece event.

However, the heightened demand is a breeding ground for ticket-touting - and gardai are planning to prevent touts from selling at exorbitant prices.

A source told the Herald that "plain-clothes gardai know the key exponents of ticket-touting" and where they operate on match days.

Many of the same faces will be spotted around Dorset Street and the North Circular Road looking to flog tickets, where most supporters tend to congregate early on match day.

Seize

"The illegal sale of tickets forms part of our policing plans at major events, and will be targeted by both plain-clothes and uniformed gardai at concerts and major sporting events taking place this weekend," a garda spokesman said.

"Gardai have the powers to deal with unlicensed sale of tickets under the Casual Trading Act 1995."

This act allows gardai to arrest vendors who are found selling tickets in a public place without a licence, with officers also having the power to seize the tickets.

Fines can be issued, which can increase depending on how many times the person has offended under the act - meaning penalties can range from €50 to €10,000.

The highest offence can result in potential jail time.

With Mayo not making the final, and the lowest numbers attending a Dublin All-Ireland semi-final in decades, demand for tickets is slightly lower than for previous finals.

However, with a major clampdown on the online touting of tickets by the GAA, those looking to cash in on the big match will operate around the stadium.

Earlier this year, legislation put together by Fine Gael TD Noel Rock and Fianna Fail's Stephen Donnelly was passed in order to clamp down on the touts.

The legislation has not yet come into effect, but will ban the reselling of tickets above face value. Mr Rock is hopeful of it coming into effect before the end of this year.

It is also understood that plain-clothes officers will be keeping a close eye on pickpocketing around the stadium, with such vast numbers due to descend on the city centre ahead of the game.

Stringent

A garda spokesman said that stringent plans are put in place for events such as the All- Ireland final.

"There is a comprehensive policing and security plan in place for every event we attend," said a spokesman.

"When planning for events a number of factors are considered, such as attendance figures, demographic of patrons, traffic management.

"However, for operational reasons we cannot discuss details of these arrangements ahead of any event.

"People attending are advised that gardai will not permit the consumption of alcohol outside public houses, while walking along the street or in any other public place.

"People are asked while en route to the event to have consideration for local residents and to refrain from anti-social behaviour such as on-street drinking and urinating."


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