‘Long-term help for beggars is needed’ says councillor

by Dublin Gazette
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Addressing the underlying issues behind begging outside shops is the only way to tackle the problem, says a north side councillor.

It was confirmed this week that efforts will be made by the Finglas Safety Forum alongside the Finglas Cabra Local Drugs Taskforce and the HSE to address the persistence of begging outside local shops and businesses in the Finglas and Ballymun areas.

It’s anticipated that an outreach worker will be assigned to liaise with and offer support to those begging in the locality.

Cllr Paul McAuliffe (FF) has said addressing the issues that lead people to beg outside businesses in the northside suburbs is the only way of dealing with the problem in a meaningful way.

He said: “It’s often assumed that begging is an issue confined to the city centre or very densely populated places, but changes in patterns of addiction have resulted in an increase of begging outside neighbourhood shops.

“Residents in Finglas and the surrounding areas have been raising this issue at Safety Forum meetings for quite some time now. “Locals can be made feel intimated and do not feel safe being approached, particularly at night time.

“It’s important that elderly, more vulnerable people wishing to go to their local shops feel safe.

“Gardai continue to try their best to monitor the situation but they are constrained, given that while it is a criminal offence to aggressively beg, it’s not a crime to seek money from passers-by.”

He added: “Business owners and their staff are frustrated about it having a knock-on effect and are annoyed about having to deal with it on a daily basis.

“Shifting these people on to simply beg at another location is not a solution. Ultimately these individuals need enough long-term support.

“I’m optimistic that new, targeted action in the area will bring the issue under some control and that those relying on begging to survive, or to fund problem drug use, are given a bridge towards healthier lives.”

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