Aggressive begging putting elderly off using the town centre

AGGRESSIVE begging in Dundalk’s town centre is putting elderly people off going into the area.

AGGRESSIVE begging in Dundalk’s town centre is putting elderly people off going into the area.

That was the view of St Vincent de Paul volunteer Jim Fitzgerald when he address the Age Friendly Conference in the Fairways Hotel last month.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Fitzgerald outlined a number of concerns the town’s older population had at present and said the amount of begging in the area was a major concern for many of them.

He said: “There’s a lot of aggressive begging going on in and around the Post Office and that should be done away with.”

Mr Fitzgerald also said that the ongoing works at Market Square and the amount of street furniture in the town centre was making it difficult for many people to get around.

He said: “Cars parked on paths seems to be a regular occurrence and elderly people can’t get by. There’s also far too much street furniture.

“I’d like to see our councillors go into a wheelchair for a day and try to go around Dundalk at present because they simply couldn’t do it.”

Jim also said that the lack of an accident and emergency service at the Louth County Hospital was a major concern for older people.

“People are afraid and if this conference really wants to do something for the county then you need to do something about the hospital.

“A lot of people are going to Daisy Hill now because we’ve downgraded our own hospital. There are times when I don’t think I’d make Drogheda if I needed it and I don’t even know if I’d want to make it the way it is at the moment.

“Apart from anything else people can visit their friends and relatives because of money,” he said.

Dundalk Town Council chair Marianne Butler admitted that the issue of street furniture was a “big problem” particularly for people with disabilities and said that the council wanted to come up with a policy in conjunction with business owners to properly tackle the problem.

She also said that she would raise the begging issue at the next meeting of the Joint Policing Committee and admitted that she had already had some feedback in relation to the matter.