n an interview on RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins discussed his love for sports while in Croke Park for the All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-finals, the president said the current stories around gambling "really worry" him.
High-profiles cases recently include Galway hurler Davy Glennon, who avoided prison earlier this year for the theft of USD82,000 which was used for gambling. The forward has returned to the sport and indeed was introduced as a substitute in yesterday’s game against Clare.
"I'm very well aware of what happens when players retire. The GAA has a scheme that is an outreach scheme that is very good. But also I am very concerned about gambling. If I had my way, I wouldn't have advertising access to sports gambling platforms at all. I really worry when I read the cases," Mr Higgins said.
"I visited the Hope House in Mayo recently who have been a great assistance to some people who have got over what is, hopefully, a terrible temporary problem. I think in a way we should protect our sports by keeping them free from this kind of stuff."
Adding further on his point, he said that education at an early age can help, but it will not totally solve the growing issue.
"I just think [sport] should be protected from it. There is no one being heavy about it. What you can do is through education obviously, through the school systems. As well as that, we do need, and it's not for me as President [to do something] as I'm no influence except to say what I think, is that the integrity of sport means taking care of everyone who participates. Taking care of everyone who participates means not exposing them when in fact they are vulnerable. How you deal with vulnerabilities is by preparing them of course. But you can't do everything through education. For too long in Ireland we often ignore problems that are staring us in the face," added Higgins.