The Government has announced that it will introduce new laws to crack down on begging.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern revealed the proposals this afternoon, which will see the first reform in laws on begging since the Famine.
Speaking on RTÉ News at One, Minister Ahern said: ‘There are various reasons why the law on begging needs to be reformed, not least the fact that some vulnerable members of the public are often fearful when approached on the street by individuals begging.’
The minister said that begging will become an offence where it is accompanied by unacceptable behaviours such as harassment, obstruction or intimidation.
He went on to highlight a new power that will enable gardaí to direct persons who are begging to desist, and a failure to comply may result in an arrest and charge.
He feels this new power will prove to be an effective addition to garda enforcement options.
The minister expects to publish a Bill within the next few months which will give effect to the proposals approved today by the Government.