The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011 makes provision to prohibit harassment or intimidation of members of the public by persons engaged in begging. It gives powers o the Garda Siochana to give directions to desist from begging in certain circumstances.
A person begs if without lawful authority he/she requests or solicits money or goods from another person/persons and does not offer money in consideration therefore. Alternatively, a person begs if either in a private place without consent of the owner or occupier, he requests or solicits money from another without offering goods money or services in return.
The person who while begging in a place harasses, intimidates, assaults or threatens another person, obstructs the passage of persons or vehicles is guilty of an offence. He is liable on summary conviction to a fine of €200 or imprisonment of up to one month or both.
Organiser and Controller
A person who-
- controls or directs the actions of another person for the purposes of begging,
- organises or is materially involved in the organisation of begging by another person,
- forces another person to beg, or
- otherwise causes another person to beg,
is guilty of an offence. A person guilty of this offence is liable-
- on summary conviction to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, or
- 0n conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €200,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.
A person who derives a living, in whole or in part, from the proceeds of begging by another person and who, in relation to that person, commits an offence under section 5 or aids and abets the commission of such an offence is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.
Directions by Garda
A member of an Garda Siochana may direct a person who is begging in any place and whom he believes upon reasonable grounds to be acting or to have acted in a manner that constitutes to an offence above or gives rise to a reasonable apprehension for the safety of persons or property or the maintenance of public peace to desist from acting in such manner and leave the vicinity in a peaceable and orderly manner.
A member of an Garda Siochana may direct a person who is begging at or near the entrance of a dwelling, an automated teller machine or vending machine to desist from begging and leave the vicinity in a peaceful and orderly manner.
A member of an Garda Siochana may direct a person who is begging at or near the entrance of business premises at the time when this is open for business to members of the public to desist from begging and leave the vicinity of that place in a peaceful and orderly manner if he has reasonable grounds for believing that the person’s behaviour or the number of persons begging at or near the premises are such that members of the public are being or are likely to be deterred from entering the premises.
A member of an Garda Siochana may direct another person other than the owner or occupier of the place who is begging in a private place to desist from begging and leave that place and its vicinity in a peaceful manner. Failure to follow a direction given is an offence. The person guilty is liable to a fine of up to €300.
A member of an Garda Siochana shall upon giving a direction inform the person to whom direction is given in clear language that if he fails to comply he is guilty of an offence.
A member of An Garda Siochana shall not perform functions under the provisions while in a dwelling unless he is in the dwelling with the consent of the owner or occupier. The provisions do not operate or limit the right of the owner or occupier of a private place.
The provisions do not operate or limit the right of an owner or occupier to require a person begging or occupier of a private place to require a person who is begging at that place to desist from begging or leave that place.
Business premises mean any premises used for professional, commercial, or industrial undertaking or provision of services to the public. Vending machines means any machine to enable a persons to purchase goods or services by means of coins, tokens, credit/debit card.
A member from Garda Siochana may arrest without warrant any person whom he/she upon reasonable grounds is guilty of committing an offence above. He may require the person arrested to give his/her name and the address at which he/she resides.
A person who fails or refuses to comply with the requirement or provides false or misleading information is guilty of an offence and is subject on summary conviction to a fine up to €200.