Northern Ireland news

Catholic parish tells worshippers not to give money to beggars at church gates

The Good Shepherd Church on Belfast's Ormeau Road

A Catholic parish has urged worshippers not to "give strangers money" when they appeal for financial help in and around the church grounds.

Holy Rosary in south Belfast made the plea to parishioners attending Sunday Masses at the Good Shepherd Church on Ormeau Road.

An `Important Notice' in its bulletin stated it had "come to our notice that parishioners are being intimidated by individuals begging in and around the church property".

It told people to direct such requests to "one of the priests or... the society of the St Vincent De Paul".

A spokesman for the diocese said the advice came after parishioners had been approached at the gates leading into the church.

"The parish of Holy Rosary have established protocols for distribution of monies for those in need through the services of St Vincent De Paul," he said.

"In the interest of the health and safety of the parishioners advice has been given to direct any requests to the priests of the parish."

He added that other parishes have given similar advice in the past.

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