People who beg on the streets of Dublin are making up to €200 per day according to a former Garda Inspector.
Tony Gallagher is claiming that Dublin is now rife with anti-social behaviour as retailers face threats, intimidation and assaults every day.
The former senior garda is now working as a security and risk consultant for businesses all over the city and, on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, he said the problem has now become an epidemic.
“What we have is a combination of factors here that is escalating this problem,” he said.
“You have the people who are begging outside the shops and there is an undercurrent of that.
“Then you have gangs of teenagers who will descend on a store and take as much stock as they can. You can take all that together then with any of the other anti-social issues.”
He said he has personally been physically threatened on three occasions since he began in his new role.
“There is an undertone to the begging,” he said.
“The person who is begging will present a very nice friendly image to the person they want to get the yield off but if that doesn’t happen or the staff member is trying to transact their business and trying politely to move them on, they are threatened.”
He said people should "assess the person you are giving money to" before handing over their change.
“Are there obvious signs of poverty? Are there worn-out clothes shoes etc?" he said. "Because when they do give money to these people, they are contributing to their addiction problems, be it drink or drugs.
“There are some of them who are earning up to €200 a day yield out of this.
“I know they are because what’s happening is they’re coming into the retail shops and the restaurants and they are looking to convert their coins into cash and that is the amounts you are talking about in some instances. Not all instances of course.”
He said authorities are showing a “passive indifference to begging and everything that that brings” and called on the Government to offer more supports to businesses.
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