Paddy Power and BoyleSports have ended their practice of offering betting opportunities on under-18 sports.

Although it is legal to offer betting on under-18 sports in this country, the institute of Public Health had expressed concerns about adolescents being exposed to gambling, while the department of Justice and Equality made recommendations for a new gambling Bill following studies and consultations.

Last month, former minister for sport Michael Ring said he was "appalled" by the outdated legislation that allows gambling to take place on underage sport.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the Fine Gael TD said: "We have a very serious problem out there of gambling addiction and I think legislation has to be brought in to deal with this.

"This legislation goes back many many years, it needs to be updated, it needs to be updated quickly.

"I don't like it in sport, I don't think it's necessary in underage sport and I would like to see the legislation brought in to make sure that gambling in underage sport is not allowed."

Paddy Power have since moved themselves on the issue, confirming they won't allow betting on under-18 sports.

The company stated: "We are no longer taking bets on any U-18 or Schools matches in Ireland.

“We made the decision independently as we understand that some people have concerns about betting being available on U-18 sports, we've listened and are happy to respond.”

The Gaelic Players Association welcomed the decision, saying that "Gambling addiction has been identified as a growing concern for county footballers and hurlers over the past number of years, with 2015 showing the highest growth in numbers presenting with gambling addiction.

"As well as the immense reputational damage and personal devastation gambling addiction can have on a player and those close to him, the issue poses a very real threat to the reputation of inter-county football and hurling in general if the integrity of the games is compromised."