Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Slot Machines.

6.

andMr. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware that there is now no restriction on the 50p payout maximum or 2p insert on slot machines; and the action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter.

7.

andMr. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice if, in view of a recent Supreme Court decision that a licence is no longer required for the operation of slot machines, the action he proposes to take in the matter.

8.

andMr. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware that due to the recent Supreme Court decision there are now no restrictions on under-16-year-old persons playing slot machines; and the action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 6, 7 and 8 together.

I am considering the effects of the Supreme Court decision, and I expect to be making an announcement in the matter in the near future.

Is the Minister aware of the seriousness of the situation? It is estimated that 1,000 machines are at present being brought into the country. If new legislation is not introduced immediately it is estimated that over 10,000 machines will be imported during the next three months. Is the Minister aware that there is not at present any legislation in regard to these machines? Any child can use them in any premises except a bar. Such things as penny bars are no longer in these machines. The Minister's answer is not adequate. He is not facing up to the seriousness of the situation.

That is comment.

The Minister could be talking in terms of six or 12 months.

I repeat that I am considering the effects of the Supreme Court decision, which was given very recently.

The Minister is not concerned.

I am examining the situation and expect to make an announcement in the matter in the very near future.

Is the Minister aware that apparently hundreds of these machines are flooding into the country?

I am fully aware of the situation.

There is a high degree of urgency.