The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, has announced that a consultation will be held before the end of the year on bringing the Charities Act into force.
The announcement was made following the annual conference of the Irish Charities Tax Research (ICTR) which took place in Dublin on Thursday November 8, 2012 . The ICTR is a charity umbrella organisation that works on behalf of charities to ensure that new legislation and policy meets the needs of the sector.
Speaking on the proposed consultation, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, Kathleen Lynch TD stated: “The consultation will invite views from charities, other interested stakeholders, and members of the public on issues connected with the implementation of the Charities Act. These will include the setting up of a Charities Regulatory Authority; the statutory registration of charities and granting of charitable status; and the types of information that a Charities Regulatory Authority might require from registered charities each year”.
Minister Lynch also took the opportunity to urge all charities to sign up to the Guiding Principles for Charitable Fundraising, an initiative developed by the charities sector and Government in the context of the publication of The Charities Bill 2007. To date just 56 fundraising charities have signed up to the initiative, which is supported by funding from the Department of Justice, a figure that the Minister deemed “disappointing”.
The Charities Act was enacted in 2009 in order to strengthen the regulation of charities and increase their transparency and accountability to those that fund them. The provisions of the Act have not yet been commenced due to the preventative cost of setting up of the aforementioned Charities Regulatory Authority.