Thursday, August 16, 2007

Am I a mean person??

It's early morning, about 7:30am, and I am on my way from St Stephens Green to Henry Street. In the course of this 15 minute walk I am approached by or questioned by approximately 5 people looking for some cold hard free cash...

This is something that has begun to bother me as I spend a fair bit of time walking around town. I am finding myself completely ignoring these requests or just lying so as to make a speedy get away. I don't like the way its making me feel. In the past I had no problem digging out a couple of coins and handing them over to someone I felt really needed them. Now I just can't tell!!

Not only is it cash people are looking for but now I hide my cigarette as I walk past people sitting on the street with a little cup in front of them, dreading the inevitable "Have you got a spare smoke bud?" Yes I do have some cigarettes but they are feckin expensive!!

In this day and age I find it difficult to get from the start of one month to the next without the added hassle of handing over cash and cigarettes to people I don't know.

But this is the problem. I have always been quite charitable and understanding but this is changing. Now I walk away and feel a deep sense of guilt inside even though I know that I can actually not afford it. Changing the side of street you walk down, pretending you don't see someone, listening to music so you can ignore the questions.

There are definitely more people on the streets everyday looking for money and I wish there was a solution to help all these people. I just don't believe that I am that solution. Does the money people hand over go toward that mysterious hostel or food? Or does it go toward drink and drugs? All I know is that the whole issue makes me feel very mean. Damn.


  1. Fuck them. They should all be taken off the streets and killed.

  2. Idiot it's a lose lose situation, if you don't give, you feel guilty & they get no help, if you do give you feel stupid and used and the begging continues.

    We're definitely in a new corporate era of begging with no boundaries. The Romas prowl tables inside pubs and beg people as they queue for communion at mass. Immigration has also taken its toll on beggers. There's a dodgy aul wan who's been outside Clarendon St church for 20 years, but now she's been joined by 2 others outside while a few more work inside.

    In summary Idiot, like prostitution, it's a very old employment that's not likely to go away. My policy is to nod, smile and move on.

  3. I hate this too, I wish you could buy vouchers for a hostel, then if you feel charitable once or twice a month you could get one and give it out.

    Also I had a mate once, who when out of his way to get a macdonalds meal for a homeless guy, who just threw it into the river and abused him.

  4. Roisin Ingle wrote a good column about passing a guy on Capel St and hten feeling bad - she got him a Soup Dragon voucher, i think they agreed to sort that out -

    I think perhaps ou ahve to pick your charitable acts - I feel bad when I buy superfluous things for a fiver, then say I'm too poor to give Concern €5 a month...

    Perhpas if we made a conscious choice to keep the money we'd spend on a glossy mag, for example and pass it on.

    I rememebr once being on Shatham st and looking down and seeing ten quid under my foot - then looking up and seeing a wino waving an empty bottle around on the corner. I said to my husband 'I think God is watching me' and he was like 'Pick up the money and don't be so fucking stupid!'

    I'm not sure handing out cash helps anyone, it's the give a man a fish thing. And giving them cigarettes only gives them cancer, save that for yourself if you really want to!

  5. I have decided to feel guilty no longer - if I gave "spare" change to everyone who asked for it, I would have no money left! I ease my guilt by making a generous (by my standards anyways) donation to The Simon Community on an annual basis. I reckon they will make sure the benefit trickles through to those who need it most - I hope so anyways.

  6. JM - you remind of something that happened to me yeeeaaars ago. I went the the ATM machine and it was back in the day when a diagonal glass covered the keypad and cash dispenser until you put your card in. Anyway, there was an Italian without English standing beside me pointing to what was £20 someone left behind and he signaled for us to share it. So on the spur of the moment I decided to split it 10-10 and not bring it into the bank.

    You had to be there I suppose. But eitherways I'd be like you, if I saw a tenner and a wino at the same time I'd probably give it to him.

  7. Ah, yeah, but I didn't!

    I left £40 in an Englsih ATM once - needless to say it was gone when I got back - damn you, you heartless thief!

  8. Twenty Major stopped by to say hello oh my god, to heck with what you had to say, twenty stopped by.

  9. personal opinion? I'm a hippy dippy weirdo and I think there are dodgy guys out there and nice guys, this applies in the world of middle managers, shop assistants and beggars, so I just go with what mt gut tells me, i don't feel guilty for not giving to the ones I think are bad, and I give to the ones I get the positive vibe from! See hippy and dippy!