Aggressive beggars ‘putting off’ tourists, business owners claim

Begging and drug-dealing in Dublin to be raised at Lord Mayor’s policing forum

The methadone clinic on Amiens Street: a Dublin city centre business-owner has complained  that ther are five drug clinics near his shop. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The methadone clinic on Amiens Street: a Dublin city centre business-owner has complained that ther are five drug clinics near his shop. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fri, Aug 9, 2013, 14:35

Aggressive begging and the growing prevalence of open drug dealing in Dublin’s city centre will be raised at next month’s meeting of the Dublin policing forum, a spokesman for Dublin Chamber of Commerce has said.

It was an issue that was being taken “very, very seriously”, he said in response to reports from a city centre business-owner that anti-social behaviour was putting high-spend tourists off visiting Dublin.

Alan Cooke, owner of John J Cooke’s silversmith in Fownes Street, said yesterday an Englishman had been in his shop on Wednesday and had spent €550 on two small trophies to award among golfing friends staying at the K Club in Co Kildare this week.

“He was staying at the Clarence hotel for a night, having dinner in Shanahan’s on the Green. He came in here and dropped €550 on a few little prizes for his friends. He said to me that he really liked Ireland but he would never be back in Dublin because of the aggressive begging and the junkies. He said he had never experienced anything like it.

“I looked him up after and he is a big property developer with properties in Canary Wharf and all over London, just the kind of tourist we are meant to be trying to attract and as soon as he and his friends come out of their hotel they were jostled by beggars and junkies.

“I’d say he and his five or six friends will easily spend €20,000 to €30,000 while they’re in Ireland but they’ll go home to England and tell their friends not to come to Dublin,” said Mr Cooke.

He said he swept the street outside his shop every morning to remove used needles and empty blister-packs. “The problem is out of control. There is no leadership on this issue. No one is doing anything about it. Dublin City Council will tell you it’s a matter for the guards. The guards will say there’s no law against begging.

Drug clinics
“We need to get the junkies out of the city centre. That means moving the drug clinics out. There are at least five near my shop,” he said, citing clinics in nearby Pearse Street, Abbey Street, Castle Street, Merchant’s Quay and Amiens Street.

Dublin City Council said the issue was one for the garda. The spokesman for Dublin Chamber of Commerce said: “A different style of begging has emerged in recent years and it’s certainly something we take very seriously, especially when we hear reports like this. That is very worrying.”

He said the chamber would definitely raise the issue at the next meeting of the Lord Mayor’s policing forum, which meets again in September.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.