Part 4 of the Charities Act 2009 will come into force on Monday 5th September 2016. The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald signed the necessary commencement order SI 350/2016 on 5th July 2016. 

Part 4 deals with the Protection of Charitable Organisations and includes, amongst its eleven sections, the ability to appoint an inspector to investigate the affairs of a charitable organisation. The fact that this legislative power was not available recently when the Console scandal erupted was unfortunate.

At this stage the vast majority of the Act has been commenced however important provisions relating to agreements being entered into by charitable organisations with charitable trustees and the power to make regulations in relation to charitable fund raising are not yet in force. 

It is hoped that the necessary resources will be made available to the Charities Regulator to allow it to meet the strategic objectives set out in its First Statement of Strategy 2016 – 2018  which it recently published. A robust and effective Charities Regulator is keenly needed so that it can go about re-instilling public confidence in the important Irish charities sector.