MEMBERS of the Letterkeny/Milford Municipal District will attend a workshop next Wednesday to discuss the issues of homelessness and begging on the streets of Letterkenny.
On Monday a Romanian woman was brought before Letterkeny District Court charged with begging, believed to be the first case of its kind here.
At last week’s MD meeting Cllr Donal Mandy Kelly raised the issue of homeless people in doorways behind Scally Place.
He also raised the issue of people begging on the street and questioned whether this was done out of necessity or was it the case these people begging were part of an organised group of fraudsters coming from the North.
Cllr Kelly told the Donegal News this week that elderly people and youths were feeling intimidated by some of these beggars.
“We can see a lot of begging going on in Letterkenny. I am asking have gardai intervened to see what is going on. If they are fraudsters coming in from the north something needs to be done. If these people are legitimate housing needs to address this. I have a soft spot for homeless people struggling.
“It seems to be getting worse at the back of Scally’s with people sitting in doorways. Approach them and see what we can do for them. I don’t want to see anyone outside,” Cllr Kelly said.
Cllr Donal Coyle questioned if there by-laws in place relation to begging in public. Director of Services Liam Ward said that if there were genuine issues with homelessness and more people presenting a centre needs to be found.
“If genuine they would contact the local authority and see what options are available. If people beg and are part of a different operation it needs to be reported to gardai and gardai then follow it up. It is when people come to us we would act,” Mr Ward added.
Council official Eamonn Brown told the meeting that it would be through non-government organisations (NGOs) people might be referred to the council office.
“I have asked the Saint Vincent de Paul for their views on begging and homelessness whether they are genuine or not. There are no by-laws that I am aware of,” he added.