Elected representatives in the Ennis Municipal District have appealed to the public not to give cash to members of the homeless community and instead hand they food or liquids should they wish to assist them.
Clare’s newly appointed Chief Superintendent, Michael Gubbins was present at Tuesday’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District where councillors put forward a request for a stronger Garda presence around the town.
Cllr Mary Howard who is also Chairperson of the county’s joint policing committee relayed concerns from business people in the town of Ennis. “One big issue in the town of Ennis, traders are getting very frustrated with the vagrancy. There are people hanging around the square, intimidating people in the town and it is not a good image for the town”.
She requested “More foot patrol in the town of Ennis if at all over the next few weeks, let them know ye are on top of them and they will move off elsewhere”.
Gubbins was of the view that some of the individuals in question were residing at Laurel Lodge but stressed the importance of reports being made to the Gardaí if issues were developing. “If things are happening, we can only know about it if reports are made”.
Recalling a previous conversation she had with the one of the vagrants, Howard said, “One of the gentleman said to me, he came back to me because the people of Ennis are decent”. While heading on a bus journey with friends, the Fine Gael representative said twelve of the sixteen people on the bus had given money to the same man she had spoken to. “I’m appealing to the people of Ennis not to give them cash, if you want to give them lunch do”.
On Sunday last, Cllr Pat Daly was assisting Fianna Fáil with a church gate collection outside Ennis Cathedral. “There was a bit of anti-social behaviour early in the morning, wine had already been consumed. Thirty or forty tourists were walking to The Old Ground and this is not a good image for them to see. Our parish priest was trying to sort it out”.
“I reiterate what has been said with regard to foot patrol. Old people living in the town would like to see more of a Garda presence,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy stated. “I agree with Cllr Howard, do not give money, if you want to give them a meal, give them one”.
Chief Supt Gubbins also urged the public not to give money to individuals looking for it. “If people are giving them money why wouldn’t they go somewhere where there are rich people”.