Gardaí arrest 46 people over ‘organised begging’ in Dublin

Court appearances due after three-day operation targets city centre ‘begging rings’

More than 40 people were arrested in recent days in a Garda operation targeting organised begging in Dublin city centre. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

More than 40 people were arrested in recent days in a Garda operation targeting organised begging in Dublin city centre. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

 

More than 40 people were arrested in recent days as part of a Garda operation targeting organised begging in Dublin city centre.

Gardaí detained 46 people over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of those arrested were charged and are due to appear in court early next month.

The arrests were made under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011, which was introduced to give gardaí greater authority to deal with people found to be aggressively begging on the streets.

As part of the weekend operation, both plain clothes and uniformed gardaí from Pearse Street station targeted city centre areas popular with tourists such as Temple Bar and Grafton Street.

Garda sources familiar with the operation said the targets of arrests were those believed to be involved in “begging rings,” and also linked to low level criminality, such as thefts of mobile phones and handbags.

The vast majority of those arrested were not believed to be homeless individuals, one source said. A number of those arrested over the three days were not Irish nationals, they said.

In a statement the Garda Press Office said the “purpose of this operation was to target organised begging within the city centre”.

Tougher legislation introduced in 2011 gave gardaí the power to move beggars on from shopfronts and bank machines, and to prosecute individuals found to be harassing or intimidating people while begging.