Bishops raise awareness about problem of gambling addiction  

25 Feb 2022

  • Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative launch Leave Your Mark Podcast ahead of Temperance Sunday
  • “This series of podcasts and videos produced by the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative will help to highlight the problems that exist and how those who have struggled with addiction have overcome their challenges.” – Bishop Michael Router
  • “I was chasing some things that weren’t just about money, I started chasing things that I felt I lost along the way. Like self-respect, integrity, relationships, family members. I thought I could win all these things back by having a bet in the bookies.” – Oisín McConville (2002 All-Ireland Winner)
  • “It was like the hit a drug abuser feels or an alcoholic sitting in the pub getting drunk.” – Conn Kilpatrick (2021 All-Ireland Winner)

Ahead of Temperance Sunday, this Sunday, the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative (IBDI) has launched the ‘Leave Your Mark’ podcast, to raise awareness about the impact gambling, drugs and alcohol addiction can have on young people’s lives. 

Episode one of this new podcast features a discussion between Tyrone GAA midfielder and 2021 All-Ireland winner, Conn Kilpatrick, and the 2002 All-Ireland winner, Oisín McConville of Armagh, sharing their personal experience with gambling addiction, and who also believe that it is a growing problem among young people. Conn is also interviewed by Newry Parish Youth Forum member Jake McGill, on the highs and lows of his route to becoming an All-Ireland winner.

Welcoming the new podcast series, Bishop Michael Router of the IBDI said, “Addiction is a frightening aspect of life in Ireland today. The rise in the abuse of drugs and alcohol is well documented and many parents, families and communities have suffered and are struggling to respond. Especially in this digital era, gambling has become a huge problem that is destroying lives and livelihoods and is so interwoven with popular sports events. Across Ireland, the co-location of pubs and bookies exemplifies how people can be exposed to the influence of addiction.

“This series of podcasts and videos produced by the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative will help to highlight the problems that exist, and how those who have struggled with addiction have overcome their challenges. It will provide guidance and hope to people that there is a way out of addiction and that there are services to turn to when needed.”

The ‘Leave Your Mark’ podcast series will consist of four episodes involving guests from sports stars to community leaders, who will tell their stories. Students and members of parish groups will also participate in a conversation with guests about the challenges they have faced, as well as hear from a professional on the growing challenges of addiction that face our community.


Notes for editors

  • Bishop Michael Router is Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh and is liaison bishop for the IBDI
  • The Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative is the pastoral response of the Bishops’ Conference to assist parish communities in raising awareness and developing an informed outreach to help address the issue of drugs and alcohol at a local level. To achieve its objective, the IBDI provides bespoke information, education and training, as well as offering alternative activities to avoid substance misuse. The IBDI has met the challenges Covid-19 has presented by moving where possible to an online facilitation service. This initiative has seen programmes facilitated directly to schools remotely and recordings sent to those who could not facilitate the online service. A new podcast series for 2022 has been released to coincide with Temperance Sunday.
  • Temperance Sunday is a day of Prayer for Temperance, a day which offers us an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with alcohol and a day on which we can take time to pray for those who suffer from addiction.
  • The podcast content will be used as a resource for schools and community groups as part of a ‘Healthy Life Style’ programme offered by the IBDI. The podcast is available on all major platforms.
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For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678