Dáil Éireann - Volume 572 - 21 October, 2003

Written Answers. - Legislative Programme.

  130. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason there have been such delays in the reform of the charities legislation; and the measures now proposed. [24080/03]

  Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): I agree with the Deputy that the reform of charities legislation has been under consideration for a long time. The examination and research on the reform which has been undertaken during the past 13 years have given rise, in particular, to the Costello, 1990, Burton, 1996, and Law Society, 2002, reports, as well as to the review of existing law in certain common law jurisdictions, for which Arthur Cox was the lead consultant, 2002. For that reason, priority was given in An Agreed Programme for Government to move from examination and research into the action phase, with a commitment to enact a comprehensive reform of the law relating to charities in order to ensure accountability and to protect against abuse of charitable status and fraud.

  A charities regulation unit was set up in my Department in February 2003. A draft consultation paper on establishing a modern statutory framework for charities is being prepared and I hope to be in a position to secure Government agreement to its publication shortly.

  Question No. 131 answered with Question No. 102.

  Question No. 132 answered with Question No. 112.