A new Charities (Amendment) Bill which sought to amend the Charities Act of 2009 by ensuring that all the provisions of that Act are fully enacted by 31 May 2014 was launched in the Dáil by Sinn Féin Deputy Padraic Maclochlainn.
He said it also seeks to add the “advancement of human rights” on to the definitions of charities eligible to be registered, as outlined in the charitable purpose section or section 3 of the 2009 Act.
The original purpose of the Charities Act 2009 was to reform the law relating to charities he said. It aimed to ensure greater accountability, offer protection against abuse of charitable status and fraud and also to enhance public trust and confidence in charities and increase transparency in the sector. The Act provided for the creation of a new charities regulation infrastructure, a charities regulator, a register of charities, consultative panels to advise the regulator and a charity appeals tribunal, and the Act laid down, for the first time in primary legislation, a definition of charitable purposes. The Act meant that organisations, which wished to present themselves to the public as charities, or fundraise directly from the public for charitable purposes, will have to seek and secure inclusion in the new register of charities.
“What we in Sinn Féin have produced is a short and simple Bill which is of the utmost importance not only to charities but also to the public in what has escalated to a crisis following the Central Remedial Clinic scandal,” he said. “Our Bill seeks to ensure that the 2009 Act is fully implemented once and for all.”