118. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and planned legislation regarding aggressive begging in public places; the powers provided to An Garda Síochána under this legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22745/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The law on begging is set out in the Public Order Act 2011. The Act defines begging as requesting or soliciting money or goods other than in accordance with a licence, permit or authorisation.
Section 2 of the Act provides that it is an offence while begging in any place to harass, intimidate, assault or threaten any other person or persons, or obstruct the passage of persons or vehicles.
Section 3 of the Act gives the Garda Síochána the power to direct persons begging in certain places such as near or at entrances to business premises, ATM machines or vending machines to desist and leave the vicinity in a peaceable and orderly manner. A person who contravenes a direction under this section is guilty of an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to €500.
Section 4 of the Act gives the Garda Síochána powers of arrest without warrant where there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence under this legislation has been committed.