President Michael D Higgins has said there are serious questions to be answered about the level of sports betting advertising in the media.

It is the second time in two weeks that the President has hit out at gambling advertising, after making comments on the issue at the formal opening of the Carraig Eden addiction rehabilitation centre in Wicklow, which is run by the Tiglin charity.

"I welcome the fact that the debate on sports gambling advertising has now been taken up in the public discourse," he said.

"Earlier this month, having met with people that have overcome addictions of various kinds, I spoke of the scourge of sports gambling and the dangerous gambling advertisements, which continue to cause so much damage to families and individuals.

"When I spoke at Tiglin, I suggested that nobody can accept that the tokenistic 'small print' warnings and invitations to be ‘responsible’ are in any way in proportion to the possible damage being inflicted by the lure of sports gambling ads," said Mr Higgins.

"There are serious questions, ones that are surely in the public interest to have answered, as to how such a high degree of saturation of the media landscape by sports betting advertisements has arisen, when the evidence of the damage being inflicted is so obvious and should be a concern to us all."

Earlier this week the founder of the Paddy Power bookmaking chain, Stewart Kenny, said Ireland is "so far behind in regulating the gambling industry that there is no protection for the young and vulnerable".

The former chief executive said "governments for the last 20 years have been totally negligent" when it comes to regulating the gambling industry.