Romanians ‘will face jail’ if they continue to beg

Five Romanian nationals were brought before Cork District Court yesterday to face begging charges as the judge warned any repeat offences could end in jail.

A Romanian translator was sworn in to assist with all five cases at Cork District Court yesterday where solicitors, Dennis Healy and Eddie Burke, were appointed to represent the accused on free legal aid.

One of the men pleaded guilty to three counts of begging within two days. Judge Olann Kelleher gave this man — Grigoie Feraru, aged 23, of no fixed address — the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act on the first count, a €150 fine, on the second, and a suspended one-month sentence on the third.

Inspector Vincent O’Sullivan said Feraru was caught obstructing pedestrians by begging at South Mall and Shandon Bridge on November 24 and at St Peter and Paul’s Place the next day.

Sergeant Alan Cronin said this man had an invoice for €1,110 for flights for himself and five colleagues from Romania to Cork return.

Feraru said it is cheaper to book as a group but that he had only paid €185, as had each of the others. Feraru had no explanation for why his name was on the invoice.

Others before the court had been in Ireland for longer and some intended to stay.

Mr Healy said there was nothing for them at home and that they were hoping to get into car-washing businesses here, which he said is becoming something of a trend at the moment.

Three defendants facing one charge with no previous convictions, were given the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act.

Manex Covacio, of Springview Terrace, Commons Road, was fined €150 for his second begging conviction on Nano Nagle Bridge on November 28.

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