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Belfast's Malone area begging swept under carpet

You say, "the upmarket Malone area of Belfast" (News, October 10), but surely not?

After a brief interlude, Queen's University and the Ulster Museum are again ringed by the same professional street beggars, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, that previously colonised the area.

The same elderly woman once again occupies a pinch-point between the BT telephone kiosk and The Barking Dog.

There's an elderly gentlemen who also feeds a large flock of feral pigeons several times a day from his permanent perch on the window sill of the Botanic Gardens Post Office.

In anticipation, this flock daily gathers along the window sills and signage of the Ulster Bank and Post Office, pooping on customers and passers-by alike and fouling the cash machines below.

I mention only these two individuals, because each day Belfast City Council workers and PSNI patrols pass within feet of both, yet they continue to trade with impunity, and also because these two individuals appear to be in their 80s and one wonders how two 80-year-olds can be put out to beg for money throughout successive Northern Ireland winters without attracting the attention of the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland (COPNI).

COPNI, or cop-out?

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast Telegraph

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