Begging on the streets is not helping tourism in Cork City, a district judge has said.
At Cork District Court, Judge Colm Roberts said, “Cork is a city that has not done as well on tourism as other cities, although it made significant improvement in the last few years.
“Begging on the street does not help tourism and does not help the general business community. I don’t think anyone begs because they want to or thinks it is a laugh. I totally accept it is out of desperation.”
The judge said that Ireland is a richer country that has social provision and that begging was not the appropriate option.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said, “This is a man who has made efforts.”
Judge Roberts said, “The main difficulty I see is if he is begging, he is in financial difficulty. It is hard to see why he would need to beg, other than if drugs were becoming an issue again.”
Mr Buttimer said,
“It does not seem to relate to drugs.”
Sergeant Pat Lyons said defendant Brendan Coholan was before Cork District Court on two counts of failing to appear in court on charges and two counts of obstructing the free passage of pedestrians by begging. Sgt Lyons said Coholan was begging on Oliver Plunkett St on January 28, and on Paul St on March 5. The sergeant said the defendant had 27 previous convictions, including nine for begging.
Mr Buttimer said the accused was doing much better, having previously had addictions, including of diamorphine. The defendant said he had been on methadone treatment for the past two years and was in more stable accommodation at Carrigbeg House, Sunday’s Well.
Mr Buttimer said the accused was maintaining contact with family members. Judge Roberts said that begging on the streets was upsetting for passers-by.
An overall sentence of one month suspended was imposed on the 39-year-old for the begging and three months suspended for failing to turn up in court.
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