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Minister defends Lotto advertising on HSE website

James Reilly says the HSE uses National Lottery funding to assist community groups, and that advertising the Lotto is appropriate.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE HEALTH MINISTER James Reilly has defended advertising on the Health Service Executive website for the National Lottery, saying the HSE’s community and voluntary sector funding is largely dependant on lottery incone.

Reilly was responding to a parliamentary question from independent Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan, who had asked Reilly if the advertising was appropriate to promote a gambling service on the health service website.

“The Deputy will be aware that funding from National Lottery proceeds are also allocated to other Departments for a range of projects including youth, sport, recreation and amenities, culture and heritage and the Irish language,” Reilly responded.

“At a time of severe restraints on public expenditure that where funding is available from other sources, then it should be utilised to ensure the continued support for these worthwhile projects”.

O’Sullivan had questioned whether placing ads for the Lotto on the HSE website was appropriate “in view of the rising numbers of those caught in gambling addiction”.

This afternoon she told TheJournal.ie that gambling addiction was “one of the silent addictions” and that in the current times the HSE needed to be careful with regarded to the messages it sent out.

“We’re not gathering data on the numbers of people with gambling addiction, or the debts people run up as a result,” she said.

At the time of writing, any National Lottery advertising had been removed from the HSE site, which instead only carried references to the Lottery’s role in fundraising for the service.

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Gavan Reilly

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