Newstalk
Newstalk

20.33 27 Jul 2018


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Begging is the biggest complaint for tourists visiting Dublin according to Fáilte Ireland.

The tourism body said persistent begging is ‘one to watch’ for lawmakers attempting to preserve the city’s appeal to visitors.

Tourists in the city also criticised its value for money.

We Are Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney said businesses regularly field complaints from people who've been approached on the streets:

“In comments that we get back on consumer surveys, begging comes up all the time as something that people feel slightly intimidated about – particularly in the evening time,” he said.

“It is an ongoing issue and it would be one that is raised quite regularly by the business community.”

Genuine cases

Alice Leahy, director of homeless charity TRUST said there are many cases on where people on the streets genuinely need help.

“I have come across women who present with terrible black eyes because they are sitting in someone’s patch,” she said.

“Or there is a man who has pushed them out there to beg; or a vulnerable person.

“There is aggressive begging but I think that is the kind of issue.

Aggressive begging

She said we all pass by people begging every day adding “the Gardaí pass there – what is being done to get to know these people?”

She said more policing is needed to protect visitors and residents from aggressive people.

“I stopped one day to buy a woman I knew a sandwich,” she said. “The language was choice.”

“I got her the sandwich and she threw it after me. Now I was able to cope with that but if you have a younger person who is idealistic and they spend the little money they have – maybe their pocket money – and they buy something ...

“All of that needs to be looked at and the Gardaí do have a role to play and it is not all about the big schemes – these people need to be protected.”

Persistent begging

Mr Guiney said the law should be revisited to prevent persistent harassment.

He said the original draft of Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act which was brought in back in 2011 in an effort to prevent “harassment or intimidation of members of the public” by beggars included a reference to “persistent begging.”

He said the phrase refers to people who are “constantly going up to people and harassing them.”

“That didn’t make it to the final draft of the legislation – I always felt that was a gap,” he said.

“I think it allows where somebody is in a more constant mode, perhaps the Gardaí could intervene in that.

“Where they are directly interfering with somebody else’s ability to go about their ordinary business.”


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