Dungiven ‘a begging station’ for charity street collections

Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey.
Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey.

Call for collections to stop

That’s the call from local business owners in the town and a local politician who say they’ve had enough of the street collections in the middle of Dungiven’s Main Street.

It’s diabolical. Every Saturday it seems as if there is a street collection on Dungiven Main Street, and you can’t get up or down the town.

Sheena Jackson

One local businessman slammed the situation as a “real disaster”.

“Dungiven has become a begging station for charity street collections,” said the businessman, a local resident.

“You daren’t go up the town on a Saturday but there’s somebody standing shaking a bucket at you in the middle of the road, begging for money.

“It’s desperate and, most times, they aren’t even local charities. It would put you off going through Dungiven. The tailbacks are awful.”

PSNI figures obtained by the ‘Journal’ reveal there have been 20 street collections since January 2015 in Dungiven. Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey said while he understands the position charities are in and they need to raise money, he still believes there are more effective ways to do so rather than standing in the middle of Main Street.

“It’s diabolical,” said Councillor McGlinchey.

“Every Saturday it seems as if there is a street collection on Dungiven Main Street, and you can’t get up or down the town.

“It’s the local people of Dungiven who are suffering as well as people who are driving through the town. Think if you’re on your way to an appointment and you get stuck in traffic. How frustrating is that, not to mention the possibility of missing the appointment.

“The traffic in the town is bad enough without these collections. They do nothing but cause queues of traffic, sometimes all the way back to Benedy.”

Colr. McGlinchey said charities need to look at other options.

“Dungiven has become the charity collection point for all charities. The traffic is bad enough but, on a Saturday, when there’s a collection it’s a nightmare.

“The people out collecting are standing on the traffic islands when they shouldn’t be.

A lot of people have complained to me about it and I’ve heard plenty of people say they drive around the back of the town to avoid the traffic. It’s got beyond a joke.”

Trustee of local charity ‘Hands That Talk’, Dorothy Hegarty from Dungiven said Colr. McGlinchey does have a point.

“We have decided to cut back on street collections. We would only have had one a year anyway, but we have cut back.

“I was out on street collections, and I’ve heard the complaints from drivers who are frustrated and you can understand that, especially if someone is trying to get to an appointment and they’re late,” said Mrs Hegarty.

“To be fair, there are a lot of blockages in the town.”

Mrs Hegarty said charities have other ways in which to conduct collections, and added: “You’re more than likely to receive support from people if you don’t disrupt their lives.”