Clonmel District Court
Judge Terence Finn ordered a man who was found begging over the Christmas period to pay a €200 fine.
Shane Fitzpatrick of 29 Ard Fatima, Clonmel pleaded guilty at Clonmel District Court to obstructing the passage of the public and causing annoyance whilst begging, and for not having a licence to beg, on Gladstone and O’Connell Streets in Clonmel on December 29 and 30, 2020.
Sgt Carol O’Leary said gardaí came across the defendant begging on the streets. He had accumulated a total €64 in his cups.
Sgt O’Leary added that the defendant has 41 previous convictions, the majority of which were for public order and misuse of drugs offences.
Defence solicitor Aidan Leahy said his client is “well-known” to the court and the people of Clonmel.
His client has had previous similar encounters with the gardaí.
His client has linked in with and obtained accommodation through Focus Ireland.
His client, who is on a social welfare payment, was sitting on a cold footpath begging. The solicitor said the money found in the cups was seized by gardaí.
“He was begging and it is an offence,” Mr Leahy said.
“He wasn’t aggressive towards people,” he continued.
‘CANNOT GO ON’
Judge Finn questioned whether the defendant has difficulty living on his social welfare payment, to which Mr Leahy said that “everyone else seems to be in a position to live on that amount [of money]”.
Delivering his judgement, Judge Finn took a “benign view”.
“This cannot go on. The court might be flashing a red card [if this continues],” the judge added.