Council chief warns of influx of begging groups for ‘peak season’

Sleeping rough on Lombard Street in the Galway City.

Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has warned that the number of people sleeping rough could soon increase due to an influx of organised begging groups arriving for peak tourist season.

At a meeting of Galway City Council, Mr McGrath said there are currently up to 20 people sleeping rough in the city every night – a figure he says has already inflated due to an influx of Roma economic migrants.

“At the moment, on any given night, there are 15 to 20 people sleeping rough in Galway City. All of those have been contacted by the Housing Department and none of them need to be sleeping rough.

“The problem has been further exacerbated by an influx of Roma, which was anticipated, and to be frank, is akin to organised begging – although not in every case,” said Mr McGrath.

Mr McGrath said this had become an annual occurrence, referencing a similar increase around the same time last year.

“Last year, during Race Week, there were close to 20 people sleeping rough in Kennedy Park every night,” said Mr McGrath.

Meanwhile, it was revealed in a housing report to city councillors that the number of persons in emergency accommodation has risen to 210 – made up of 41 families and 152 children.

Of this figure, 50 per cent are from the Traveller community – a figure Cllr Mark Lohan (SF) said was “alarming”.
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