For every backward notion the government come up with it, it seems like the people’s best defence is to rely on the strength of community and hope that the lads in the Dail aren’t being that serious.
That’s why Junior Justice Minister David Stanton’s attack on the GAA has really bothered me.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ireland is now suffering deeply with problems created by unregulated gambling, with more Casinos popping up in Dublin city than Starbucks global five year expansion plan. If it continues to grow at this pace Dublin will end up looking like an impoverished and tacky Las Vegas strip. There are also huge concerns with the way licensed bookmakers operate both on the street and online, completely unrestricted and unregulated they operate from far afield destinations such as Gibraltar & Morocco, these are the real vultures Ireland needs to be worried about.
However David Stanton is looking to break the back of bingo halls and small community fund raisers with his priority to outlaw GAA lotteries that exceed €5,000.
"Some commentators have described it as the wild west out there," he said. "Every time you pull a string in the gambling ball of twine other things emerge. For example, most lotteries at the moment are not legal. Most raffles that occur are not legal. There is a lot of stuff going on out there that is not legal at all."
"Some of them, not all of them, may be acting without proper authority and regulation." He said people can "mean well", but could be flouting the law due to a lack of awareness.
For me the GAA is one of the backbone organisations of rural communities, it is one of the subtle threads that makes Ireland such a great place to live and like everything in Ireland has suffered greatly as a result of recession economics and poor government, which has seen mass migration and cuts in funding in the last decade.
For the government to turn around now and target local fund raising efforts in a guise to tackle problems created by unregulated and out of control gambling corporations is absolutely despicable. This government will continue to damage Ireland and its communities while doing absolutely nothing to stop vultures prying on the weak and addicted. GAA raffles are a pinch of salt compared to the thousands of fruit machines which have infested O’Connell Street. This is really an issue we need to put the horse before the cart on and start introducing bans on gambling advertising as well as online promotions which target our youth. Remind your TD that you’re focused on the big issues and not the bingo hall.