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Association defends 'begging survey'

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AN industry representative body has defended releasing a survey on the impact of 'aggressive begging' on business in the wake of Jonathan Corrie's tragic death.

News this week of the 43-year-old's lonely end in a doorway - metres from the Dail - sparked sadness and outrage across the country.

Originally from Kilkenny, Mr Corrie suffered a life of alcohol and drug addiction and begged in the capital to feed his habit.

Yesterday, the Restaurants' Association of Ireland released the "worrying results" of a survey which found that 58pc of people feel intimidated by people who beg on the street.

The association said the capital accounts for 47pc of national GDP and attracts almost four million visitors a year.

"That amount of visitors is at risk if this issue continues to be ignored," it said.

Asked if given recent events the timing of the release was insensitive, Adrian Cummins of the industry group said that a distinction had to be made between aggressive begging and homelessness.

"Aggressive begging is a totally separate issue," he told the Herald.

committed

Mr Cummins said that the group's members help fund the Simon Community and were committed to helping battle homelessness.

The group had secured a meeting with the Oireachtas Justice Committee yesterday after months of requests, he said, explaining the timing of the release.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said it would have been wise to delay unveiling the Christmas tree lights in Leinster House yesterday, as a mark of respect ahead of the vigil for the homeless.

lbyrne@herald.ie


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