This is an important and challenging time for charities operating in Ireland. Kevin Hoy and Alice Murphy examine some practical implications of the new regulatory regime for charities.

The Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) was established on 16 October 2014, more than five-and-a-half years after the passing of the Charities Act 2009.

The 2009 act (in conjunction with those provisions of the earlier Charities Acts of 1961 and 1973, which were not repealed) now provides a legislative framework for the establishment and operation of charities in Ireland. The legislation confirms that there is no one set structure for charities. A 'charitable organisation' may be a charitable trust, a body corporate, or an unincorporated body of persons.

In order to come within the definition of a 'charitable organisation', a charitable trust must:

  • Be established for one of the charitable purposes listed in section 3,
  • Be established by a deed of trust requiring its trustees to apply all its property in furtherance of that purpose (except for moneys expended in the management of the trust), and
  • Confirm that none of the property of the trust will be payable to the trustees, other than in accordance with section 89 (which has not yet been commenced). Section 89 will permit a charity to enter into certain agreements with charity trustees and connected persons.

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This article first appeared in the March 2016 issue of the Law Society Gazette.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.