Regulator to create digital platform for charities to get advice

Up to 8,600 charities in Ireland, of which two are currently under investigation

“If we’re going to court, we’re failing,” said Charities Regulator chief executive. Photograph: iStock

“If we’re going to court, we’re failing,” said Charities Regulator chief executive. Photograph: iStock

 

The chief executive of the Charities Regulator, John Farrelly, said on Tuesday that the regulator is moving to create a digital platform to ensure that charities have a clear forum to seek advice. He added that his office is trying to get the basic steps in place for trustees to carry out their duties and noted that “if we’re going to court, we’re failing”.

Speaking to The Irish Times after an event organised by Ecclesiastical Insurance, an insurer of charities, heritage sites and education institutions, Mr Farrelly noted that if the charities regulator finds criminality, it will move to ensure an appropriate agency is involved. He said the appropriate organisation to investigate matters that fall outside of the realm of the District Court is An Garda Síochána.

Under the Charities Act 2014, the regulator only has a statutory basis to bring summary proceedings against individuals who have committed an offence under the Act. For more serious offences, the DPP will prosecute.

At an event that discussed the role of trustees in charities, Niamh Callaghan, a charities law partner in Mason, Hayes and Curran, said she believes there are too many charities in Ireland. Asked if he agreed with that, Mr Farrelly said he didn’t and that “it’s not our role to control the public good”.

The charities regulator is ensuring that his office is better-placed to ensure charities are compliant with the law and said his office is appropriately funded to carry out that role.

As of May 6th there were said to be 8,600 charities in operation in Ireland. Of those, two are under investigation by the regulator.