There has been an outpouring of support in recent days for a local man who has been repeatedly convicted of begging.
Alec Getty, an ex-UDR Soldier from Ballymoney has been in front of the Judge twice in recent months, most recently on Monday (14th September 2015) where the judge informed him that a custodial sentence would be handed down if he appeared in court again.
However, Mr Getty is well known to most people who live in Ballymoney and Coleraine and is somewhat of a staple in Coleraine Town Centre where he spends most of his days.
Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Cllr Darryl Wilson took to social media to air his views on the subject, saying:
“Quite annoyed that a Jail sentence is being suggested for a local ex serviceman who has a gambling addiction and mental health issues.”
“More should be done to assist those who served their country in operation banner (and other conflicts ) rather than attempting to lock away those who we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to.”
A number of people have cast doubt on the claims that Alec hounded a passer-by for £20, as Alec is well known for asking for a mere 20p, or £1 to get some chips.
Other comments read as follows:
What I can’t get my head around is, that a woman claimed he asked for £10 or £20 and was so scared she gave him the money, I for one don’t buy that at all. Alec has never asked me for anymore than 50p, even at that its normally 10 or 20p. The man is harmless and somewhat a Local Treasure to Ballymoney, Begger or not he wouldn’t harm a fly and doesn’t have a history of Violence or Threatening Behaviour. Farce if you ask me. #IStandWithAlec
Alec is a harmless man don’t think he sets out to hurt anyone at all anytime I’ve seen him or spoke to him he’s been quite pleasant he needs help not to be locked up I’m glad everyone’s so perfect … #istandwithalec
I will always give Alec something when i meet him i also find it hard to believe that he asked for £20 never heard him asking for more than 50p
At Causeway Coast Community we know Alec well, he’s a harmless soul who just hasn’t been lucky in life. We would hate to hear that he has been jailed.