Suspended sentence for Sligo soup kitchen owner

The case was the first taken by the Charities Regulator.

A man who set up a soup kitchen in Sligo has been given a suspended five-month prison sentences on each of nine counts of breaches of the charities regulations.
 
Oliver Williams, a 50-year-old father of four, was ordered not to engage directly or indirectly in any alleged charitable business for two years.
 
Judge Kevin Kilrane also directed that Mr Williams not apply to register a charity in his own name or indirectly in another person's name.
 
The Twist soup kitchen and shop in Sligo are now closed, and Judge Kilrane ordered stock and any monies belonging to them to be handed over to the local St Vincent de Paul Society.
 
Pointing out that Mr Williams has previous convictions, the Judge said it was important he was "stopped in his tracks."

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Responding to the sentence, Charities Regulator chief executive John Farrelly said he had "no choice" but to prosecute.

"In this case, Mr Williams had never registered this or any of his businesses as charities but was taking money from the public on the basis that he was operating a charity.

"The Regulator is mindful of the beneficiaries of the organisation and is working with a local charity to ensure that any necessary support is available to them. We will continue to apply the law without fear or favour in order to protect the good work of the thousands of good people in registered charities throughout Ireland," Mr Farrelly concluded. 
 
The case was the first taken by the Charities Regulator.
 
(Additional reporting from Ocean FM)