Charities Regulator welcomes 'very strong' new powers to protect charitable organisations

The regulator will now be able to impose sanctions in situations such as improper bookkeeping

Charities Regulator welcomes 'very strong' new powers to protect charitable organisations

John Farrelly, CEO of the Charities Regulator. Image: RollingNews.ie

The head of the Charities Regulator has welcomed the authority's 'very strong' new powers, which will allow it to investigate and protect charities.

Under the new rules - which commenced yesterday - the regulator will be able to impose sanctions in situations such as a charity failing to keep proper accounts or not submitting its annual report.

The new powers also allow the regulator to apply to the High Court to "suspend or remove charity trustees or staff members and prohibit the removal or sale of charity property" in certain circumstances.

The regulator must prove to the court that charity property is being misused; a charity trustee or staff member has engaged in misconduct or mismanagement of a charity’s affairs; or that the provisions of the Charities Act are not being adhered to.

John Farrelly, CEO of the Charities Regulator, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the changes.

"If I get information today that somebody in a charitable organisation is committing a potential crime [...] straight away I can investigate that organisation," he explained.

"I can get their books, get their various records... I can commandeer them quickly. We can examine that, and we can investigate it, and we can publish reports on that.

"They're very, very, very strong powers. Obviously with any powers you have to use them proportionally [and] there's a lot of good charitable agencies who will never be investigated by me," he stressed.