Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has urged the leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to come clean about their parties’ links with the gambling industry.
His comments follow reports in the Daily Mail today which revealed that several TDs and Senators from these parties attended a day at the races at Punchestown paid for and attended by a gambling body.
Speaking today, Teachta Gould said:
“Gambling addiction sadly affects the lives of far too many people across the country. While many people are able to enjoy a bet, for many others it can be the start of a devastating addiction which has profound and far-reaching implications for their and their family’s lives. The government has a duty and a responsibility to protect people from gambling addiction by regulating the industry in a robust and fair way.
“Shockingly, the government has delayed regulating gambling for a decade. During this time countless lives will have been affected by the government’s failure to grasp this important issue.
“The shocking revelations in the Daily Mail today are deeply concerning. They suggest a dysfunctional relationship between the industry and the politicians responsible for regulating that industry. I am concerned that this represents a conflict of interest.
“Many people working in the addiction sector to support those affected by problem gambling have been dismayed for many years at the government’s inaction on this issue. Today, I am sure this sense of dismay will be growing.
“I am once again urging the government to prioritise fair and robust regulation of the gambling industry, which meets the needs of people experiencing or vulnerable to addiction.
“I am urging Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar as the leaders of these two parties to come forward and be honest about the extent of their parties’ links with the gambling industry. It is vital that the public can have confidence in those who are passing legislation and be aware of the full extent of any conflicts of interest.”