Charity Regulator Reply to yesterday’s mass complaint

All,

Yesterday in our hundreds we made our feelings clear on the Lolek Ltd. tax-free charity status. As many of you will now have seen from the copy-paste reply email, the regulator doesn’t seem particularly interested in ending this scam. Here’s the reply that was sent to me today:

Dear Jimi,

I refer to your recent complaint regarding Lolek Ltd (Iona Institute).

Please note that the Charities Regulatory Authority is not currently
resourced to undertake investigations; the current focus of the Authority
is on the development of the Register of Charities.  Part 4 of the
Charities Act 2009, which provides for the investigation of the affairs of
charitable organisations, has not yet been commenced.

Campaigning and lobbying activities are an important part of the work of
many charities. However, it is important that charities are aware of the
restrictions that charity law places on this aspect of their work. It is
acceptable for charities to carry out campaigning and lobbying activities
where these activities are directly related to the advancement of the
charitable purpose or purposes of the charity. Charity trustees should have
regard to this when they are making decisions about how and when the
charity for which they have responsibility might carry out campaigning and
lobbying.

Best regards,

Brenda R. Ryan
Charities Regulatory Authority

Disappointingly, this seems to state in simplest terms that the CRA is not bothered with performing all of its functions right now, focusing entirely on a single one that’s been 6 years in the making. I’ll be asking why the rest of the 2009 act isn’t in place yet and who has the power to actually perform any sort of oversight on “charities” in Ireland if not the regulator.

What’s even more worrying is this passage :

However, it is important that charities are aware of the
restrictions that charity law places on this aspect of their work. It is
acceptable for charities to carry out campaigning and lobbying activities
where these activities are directly related to the advancement of the
charitable purpose or purposes of the charity. Charity trustees should have
regard to this when they are making decisions about how and when the
charity for which they have responsibility might carry out campaigning and
lobbying”

Having never dealt with Breda before I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she thinks I’m stupid as opposed to just sending a veiled “PFO”, as the above translates as “yes, charities should behave themselves, and i’m sure someone should make them”. In other words hand-washing of the highest order.

Frankly I don’t really need to be told there’s a problem with Lolek. Lolek do. And from the above, it’s fairly clear that the regulator wants to do everything apart from actually regulate.

More to be posted as replies are forthcoming.

Jimi

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