New charity rules may include Mass card clampdown

New charity rules may include Mass card clampdown

New rules will come into effect from next week to impose greater control on charities - which could include a clampdown on Mass cards.

The Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald outlined the plans in the Dáil last night, and added she was deeply concerned by recent revelations about Console and other charities.

Minister Fitzgerald was speaking in the Dáil during a debate about tighter regulation of the sector put forward by the Social Democrats last night.

The Justice Minister told the Dáil that she was working with the charities regulator to ensure that, by September, it will have the staff it needs to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in the sector.

Frances Fitzgerald said the regulator now has 12,500 different charities on its register, and to date had received around 300 concerns in relation to 132 charities.

The Social Democrats want a special anti-corruption body set up, but the Tánaiste said a range of state agencies were already providing this key service.

She said that although the regulator does not have a criminal remit, it will work with other state bodies to ensure that justice is done, and added that suspected criminal activity such as fraud should be reported to the Gardaí.

An anti-corruption bill will be published by the Government later this year, under which anyone convicted of corruption will face up to 10 years in prison and unlimited fines.

In addition, the courts will be given unlimited powers to remove certain public officials from office.

Meanwhile, the board of Console will today discuss outstanding pay for staff members at the charity.

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