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GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell warns of 'severe and widespread' gambling in GAA

Updated: Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 16:50 | Comments

Farrell says three inter-county players have sought help from GPA
Farrell says three inter-county players have sought help from GPA

Gaelic Players Association Chief Executive Dessie Farrell has warned that gambling addiction is on the increase among GAA players.

The problem has become more acute in the last six months, according to Farrell, who also claims that three inter-county players have sought help from the GPA in relation to their gambling habits.

Speaking in the Irish Independent, the former Dublin footballer added: “It's that severe and that widespread. But we're starting to ask more questions about it now. Gambling is so accessible."

"It's become a big, big problem" - Dessie Farrell

He went on: "You can have fellas on a coach going to a Championship game and they're on the iPhone, making bets. It's become a big, big problem. We're trying to get people who are dealing with these mental health/addiction issues back on their feet and give them a plan.

"But we're finding that a lot of players are on this merry-go-round, just ghosting through their lives.

They mightn't necessarily be the extreme cases where there is depression or alcohol abuse, but a lot of them are on this carousel and don't know what it is they want to do or where they want to go. 

"There's this chaos in their heads and it's camouflaged by their inter-county career."

"The extreme level is where players have to engage with our counselling service. We have a network of clinical psychologists around the country, which our players can access free."

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