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New laws to target beggars

GARDAI were given tough new powers yesterday to clamp down on beggars.

The measures create new offences of organising and directing begging and living off the proceeds, which will carry penalties of up to five years' imprisonment, a fine of up to €200,000, or both.

The law will be used particularly against known gangs who operate in cities and major towns.

The law will also enable gardai to direct anyone begging near ATM machines, night safes or shop entrances to leave the area.

Irish Independent