Gardaí to crack down on charity street collectors

Gardaí are to check the permits of all street collectors for charities in a major tourist town which is claimed to be having problems with large numbers of collectors.

Supt Flor Murphy, Killarney, also disclosed some convicted criminals have been collecting for registered charities in the Co Kerry town.

Collectors from other parts of the country are regularly seen in Killarney, especially in high season when large numbers of visitors are around.

Supt Murphy said some collectors had been prosecuted in recent months for not having their papers in order and people with criminal convictions had also been collecting.

He told a meeting of the Killarney Joint Policing Committee he was instructing local gardaí to check the permits of all collectors.

But, the meeting also heard that while various charities had permits, they could get whoever they wished to collect and there was no vetting of collectors.

The issue was raised by Cllr Donal Grady (Ind), who called for a tightening of the laws controlling street collections and the people collecting.

“I’ve seen five different charities in Killarney in one day and something has to be done. The general public feel this is causing problems in the town,’’ he said.

“Permits are being issued in Dublin courts for the rest of the country, which is ridiculous.”

Supt Murphy, meanwhile, said gardaí would not tolerate anti-social behaviour in Killarney which had 249 public order offences in the first 10 months of this year.

However, he said, with thousands of people coming into the town — many of them arriving in buses on Saturday nights — some people would step out of line.

Problems could arise for gardaí when up to 10 buses could drop off people in different parts of the town on the same night.

The meeting was told busloads of young people, including some from Co Cork, were coming into Killarney, especially at weekends, with some of the passengers intoxicated.

“I’ve seen people getting off buses with bottles of vodka and other drinks in their hands and the question has to be asked if bus companies are breaking the law by allowing drink to be consumed on buses,’’ said Cllr Sean Counihan (Labour).

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