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By Sean Moriarty

 

Killarney traders are growing concerned at the increasing number of homeless people sleeping rough in the town centre.

They say there is a growing number of “professional” rough sleepers after appearing in the town centre in recent weeks and traders say these people “are following the crowds” as a result of a lack of footfall in larger cities and the increased demand for staycation style holidays.

The traders feel Killarney’s good name as a tourist destination is at risk unless something is done about it.

Local business sources have told the Killarney Advertiser that the problem is particularly bad in the College Square area and that several people are sleeping every night in the archway that leads off Plunkett St to Glebe Lane.

Cllr Donal Grady raised the issue at yesterday’s (Thursday) Killarney Municipal District meeting.

“Beggars have come in,” he told the meeting. “Plunkett St is a disgrace.”

Killarney Gardai said the public needs to be aware of what is legal and illegal but that they will investigate anti-social behaviour or other criminal acts.

“It is not an offence to be homeless,” Superintendent Flor Murphy told the Killarney Advertiser. “Begging, in certain circumstances, is not illegal either. It is illegal near ATM machines and shopfronts, but the public need to be aware what is legal and illegal. We will investigate anti-social behaviour but homelessness is not a policing issue – it is a matter for other agencies. The numbers are very small compared to other urban centres.”