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Setting up charity regulator will cost taxpayers €1m

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  Una Ni Dhubhghaill. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Una Ni Dhubhghaill. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Una Ni Dhubhghaill. Photo: Doug O'Connor

THE new charities regulator will cost the taxpayer nearly €1m to set up and the Minister for Justice will be responsible for appointing its entire board, the Herald can reveal.

The Charities Regulator Authority (CRA) will cost €960,000 to establish this year and its chief executive will receive a salary of €94,951.

The €960,000 sum is just the "initial allocation" for the authority, said a spokesman from the Department of Justice, and will be incurred over the 12 months of 2014. The taxpayer will foot the bill. The spokesman said: "This (the cost) is provided by the exchequer."

Once the authority is up and running, its operation is to be subsidised by every charity that operates in Ireland.

The spokesman also said "the fee to be paid by charities will be for the purpose of defraying expenses incurred in establishing or maintaining the register of charities".

The €960,000 is to be used to set up the office, for administration purposes and salaries.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter appointed Una Ni Dhubhghaill as the authority's CEO at the beginning of March – she had been serving as a principal officer within his own department prior to that.

The spokesman from the department told the Herald: "The board of the authority will be appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality under the terms of the Charities Act of 2009." He also said that the authority's board will be fully appointed by Easter.

SUBSIDISE

The sector, currently unregulated in Ireland, despite the enactment of the Charities Act in 2009, will subsidise the running of the authority. The fees to register have yet to be decided, and will be set by Mr Shatter.

Any charity that intends to continue operations in Ireland must register with the regulator.

Currently, only charities in receipt of Irish Aid funding must disclose salaries in excess of €70,000 and have administration costs not exceeding 6pc of its annual budget.

Organisations like Goal, Trocaire and Plan Ireland are all in receipt of Irish Aid funding and therefore must adhere to the strict criteria for transparency.

Minister for Development and Trade Joe Costello said: "I think it's time now that every charity got its house in order.

"Certainly some of the charities that were not engaging in that level of accountability and transparency have given charities a bad name and people are often very reluctant now to make the contributions they would have made in the past."

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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