Dublin: New Anti-Begging Law Comes Into Effect

3 Feb

Tough new laws to stop aggressive begging, which have just come into force, are in the public interest, the Government has said.

Begging crackdown law takes effect Enlarge photo

Gardai will now have the power to move on people asking for money near ATMs, night safes, vending machines, shop fronts or outside businesses.

Anyone found running an orchestrated begging ring, forcing others to beg or living off the proceeds can face up to five years in jail and, or, a 200,000 euro fine.

Brendan Smith, Justice Minister, said giving gardai the power to take on-the-spot action against street beggars was a more effective way of dealing with the problem.

“Under the new law, a person who begs in an aggressive, intimidating or threatening manner will be guilty of an offence,” Mr Smith said. “New powers will enable An Garda Siochana to direct anyone begging near ATMs, night safes or shop entrances to leave the area.

“I believe that power will be all the more effective because it is directed at specific locations. By avoiding the need for prosecutions and sentences, it represents a more effective way of dealing with the problem.”

It will also be an offence to obstruct people or vehicles when begging. Anyone convicted of the harassment offences or the obstruction could be hit with a fine and, or, one month in jail.

The laws were introduced by former justice minister Dermot Ahern last year and have been signed into law President Mary McAleese. The provisions are contained in the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011.

Minister Smith added: “I am well aware that those who beg are often coping with severe personal circumstances, but I feel the public want to see that the public order aspects are addressed. I am very pleased with the approach taken in this new legislation.”

The Government said new legislation was necessary after the High Court found old laws, dating from 1847, were unconstitutional.

NEWS UPDATE:

New anti-begging laws enacted today will enable gardaí to move on anyone begging near ATMs, night safes or shop entrances.

 Begging - Two new offences under laws enacted today
 Begging – Two new offences under laws enacted today
New anti-begging laws enacted today will enable gardaí to move on anyone begging near ATMs, night safes or shop entrances.

The laws, brought through the Dáil by former Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern before his retirement, establish a new general law for the control of begging.

Current Minister for Justice Brendan Smith said: ‘Under the new law, a person who begs in an aggressive, intimidating or threatening manner will be guilty of an offence.

‘New powers will enable An Garda Síochána to direct anyone begging near ATMs, night safes or shop entrances to leave the area.

‘I believe that power will be all the more effective because it is directed at specific locations. By avoiding the need for prosecutions and sentences, it represents a more effective way of dealing with the problem.’

New legislation had been deemed necessary as the High Court had found that the old law, dating from 1847, was unconstitutional.

There are two new offences created by the Bill, one on the organising and directing of begging and one on living off the proceeds.

The new offence carries severe penalties of up to five years imprisonment or a fine of €200,000, or both.

‘I am well aware that those who beg are often coping with severe personal circumstances, but I feel the public want to see that the public order aspects are addressed.

‘I am very pleased with the approach taken in this new legislation. It is focussed on begging when it becomes a public nuisance, while also ensuring the people involved were given ample opportunity to avoid a prosecution for a criminal offence,’ said Mr Smith.

(Editor’s note: Don’t give beggars money – you are only keeping them there and are, in many cases, helping to fund their drug habits, which in turn funds the DRUG GANGS and THEIR HITMEN and so on and so forth).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: