Charity behind Galway arthouse cinema recorded 'no income' despite donations, regulator finds

CEO of the Charities Regulator says the situation "does unfortunately undermine public trust" in other charities

Charity behind Galway arthouse cinema recorded 'no income' despite donations, regulator finds

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

The Charities Regulator has found the charity behind the development of an arthouse cinema in Galway recorded "no income" over a ten-year period, despite receiving donations from the public.

The project to build a 'cultural cinema' in the city began in the early 2000s, with a charitable tax exemption secured in late 2008.

The project ultimately cost just under €10 million, with most of the funds from statutory bodies.

Image: Charities Regular

An investigation has found that Solas-Galway Picture Palace Company CLG transferred its ownership to a private company without conducting an independent valuation of the building.

The report also states: "No income was recorded after 2007 by the Charity when income was in fact generated in the form of donations.

"Specifically, in relation to donations received from the public, it was incorrect to include these as liabilities as there was never an indication these amounts would be due back to those who donated."

It also found the charity did not ensure it had the "appropriate corporate governance structure" in place to oversee its operation.

Solas has since gone into voluntary liquidation.

CEO of the Charities Regulator John Farrelly says the report raises serious questions.

He observed: "While there now is an arthouse cinema in Galway - and we welcome this - the lack of oversight and sufficient competence to manage a capital project of this size really does unfortunately undermine public trust and confidence in the management and administration of other Irish charities."

The arthouse cinema in Galway - now named Pálás - opened earlier this year, operated by Element Pictures.