A district court judge said it was unacceptable for a man to beg for money on the streets of Cork to buy food for his dog. She fined him €150 for begging and €200 for having no licence for the dog.
Judge Marie Keane imposed the fines on Ionel Rostas, of 5 Southern View Place, High Street, Cork, at Cork District Court.
Inspector Vincent O’Sullivan said Rostas, 42, was obstructing pedestrians by begging on December 9. “He was actively begging and had a dog with him, at the time. He did not have the relevant licence for this dog. He has two previous convictions for begging,” the inspector said.
Dennis Healy, solicitor, who represented the accused on free legal aid, said Rostas was a street sweeper in Transylvania and came to Cork hoping to find similar work, but he resorted to begging.
Judge Marie Keane said: “He came over here one year ago. When did he get the dog?” The defendant said, through a Romanian interpreter: “I bought it here, it is mine. The dog is three months old.” Judge Keane said: “How could he afford to buy a dog, when he is begging on the street?” Rostas said: “I was asked for €10 for the dog, so I paid just €10.” Judge Keane asked: “How does he keep the dog?” Rostas replied: “I am buying food for him from the shop.” Judge Keane said: “I note this man is in Ireland 12 months. He is actively begging and obstructing the free passage of pedestrians. He has acquired the dog and is feeding the dogs, and using begging to feed the dog, which is unacceptable.”
A co-accused, Chicuta Rostas, of 91 Great William O’Brien Street, Cork, pleaded guilty to begging on December 7, his fifth begging conviction.
Judge Keane said of the 30-year-old: “He is a menace. This persistent obstructing of people on the streets going about their business, it is not acceptable. He was in Romania, he was not working, he came to Ireland — one wonders how he funded his trip to Cork — and he is now begging on the streets.” The judge fined him €250.
Fines of €250 for begging were also imposed on Lacrimioara Rostas, 41, of New Line, Charleville, Co Cork, and Madian Rostas, 28, of 11 Springview, Commons Road, Cork.
All four defendants pleaded guilty to begging, on different dates, in the past fortnight. Mr Healy, solicitor, said the defendants were tempted by the generosity of people at Christmas time.
Judge Keane said they were getting money that deserving charities, like St Vincent de Paul and Penny Dinners, would be delighted to receive.
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