Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle speaks out against increased licences for gaming machines in Donegal


Thomas Pringle TD – June 20th 2019


Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle this week spoke out against the move by a number of Councillors issuing licences for gaming machines across Inishowen and in Letterkenny.

Deputy Pringle was speaking on the Gaming and Lotteries Bill 2019 which reached debate stage in the Dáil this week saying “legislation to date has not dealt with the widespread problem of gambling in Ireland”.

“I grew up as a young teenager in arcades in Killybegs that never had gaming licences but people would lose entire wages gambling there. For young people there was nowhere else for people in the town to go to other than in arcades and it just shows how gambling as always been an issue but has never been properly dealt with.

“This is reflected most recently in the decision by Councillors to legalise gaming in north Donegal by 5 votes to 4 in Inishowen and 6 votes to 3 in Letterkenny. It’s suspicious that Councillors rushed to legalise gaming before a suite of legislation seeking to reform gambling in Ireland is due to be introduced in the Dáil and which could, over time curb the powers of local authorities to licence gaming in the future.

“It was clear that they were heavily lobbied by private business interests instead of putting their communities’ needs and concerns first. Petitions by concerns citizens were ignored and questions have been raised as to the proper length of time the consultation was advertised and whether sufficient awareness was given to people about the process.

“I think it also says a lot that many of the Councillors who voted in favour of gaming licences were Fine Gael and Fianna Fail councillors despite the fact that their own parties are the ones bringing in legislation to reform gambling laws in Ireland.

“What needs to happen now is for current legislation to be amended to curb the arbitrary nature of Councillors agreeing to gaming licences and set down a firm policy framework to guide Councillors on how best to manage public issues like gambling. This should be done in tandem with awareness raising and education on gambling including funding to deal with addiction issues. We need to reflect the fact that community concerns over the effects of gambling addiction are growing as is addiction itself.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues as the Bill progresses and to see future Bills reforming gambling legislation in Ireland. I hope to see the issue of gambling and gaming being dealt with after so little being done about it until now” concludes Pringle.