Labour leader Alan Kelly has said President Michael D Higgins was right to raise questions about what he termed the "scourge" of gambling advertising.

Mr Kelly told the Dáil that the Oireachtas "needs to deal" with the pervasive nature of gambling adverts, on all platforms, which he said was "incredible ... it never stops".

Praising a recent RTÉ Prime Time programme on the subject, Mr Kelly said the impact of gambling addition is "often hidden until it's too late".

The Labour leader contended a ban was something which could be introduced "relatively quickly" and he called for the legislative plan of Senator Mark Wall to be adopted by Government.

In reply, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said this was a "very important issue", adding that the Government did "take onboard the comments made by the President" in relation to gambling advertising.

He said Minister of State James Browne was engaging in a comprehensive reform of the sector - including the appointment of a regulator.

The Taoiseach said the Government would look at Senator Wall's bill and that if possible "an Oireachtas all party approach" might be the way to proceed.

The Labour leader described the gambling business as "totally unscrupulous" and said that there was an urgent need to ban all gambling advertising.

However, the Taoiseach replied that there was "two steps" to the Government approach - and the appointment of the regulator was the first of those steps.

He said Minister Browne "will get this done".


Watch: RTÉ Prime Time report on gambling:

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In his comments, President Higgins 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," President Higgins said.

"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."