Beggars are travelling from afar to Kilkenny where they can make an average of €500 per week from generous members of the public.
At Kilkenny District Court last week it was outlined to the judge that one defendant travels from Dublin to the Marble City where he makes on average €100 a day begging on the city's High Street.
Adrian Negra, 103 Ardmore Drive, Tallaght admitted the offence at High Street on December 18. The offence, which took place during the city's busiest shopping period, was committed under section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011 which makes it and offence to beg in a manner that 'obstructs the passage of persons or vehicles'.
The offence in question is that the defendant did while begging obstruct the passage of members of the public by enticing them to give him money or food for his pet while he did not hold a permit or licence.
The court heard that the defendant, a Romanian national, has been living in Ireland for the past four years and is not working.
The father-of-two indicated to gardai that he was making €100 a day begging. He said he is not on social welfare but does receive €135 in social welfare benefit per week for his two children.
Late last year Mayor Joe Malone made national headlines when he publicly stated that people should not give money to people begging on the city's streets. He said that beggars were coming to Kilkenny and exploiting people's generosity.
“ I am asking people to stop giving them money and they might go elsewhere,” he remarked.
“We don't want this to be a haven for them. They are coming here to seize an opportunity.”
For more see page eight
See page 8 for court report