The Central Remedial Clinic scandal and the fact there is no requirement for charities to publish annual reports or make financial information available is eroding public trust in charities.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil city councillor Ollie Crowe, who is calling for the “immediate introduction “of a regulator for the charity sector”.
He said the Government must honour the commitment it made last July to appoint such a regulator to the not-for-profit sector that has an “estimated income of €6 billion” but which “operates without any meaningful regulation and a complete lack of oversight and transparency”.
Cllr Crowe said “many charities carry out invaluable work which we cannot do without” and that regulation will separate the best from their “less exemplary colleagues”.
“Trust in the sector has been heavily damaged by the CRC scandal and without the introduction of proper regulation such scandals might well happen again until eventually all public trust in charitable organisations is lost,” he said.
Cllr Crowe said Scotland provides a good role model in this regard with its regulator having a staff of almost 50. He said an Irish equivalent “must be adequately staffed and not merely for show purposes” .
He said regulation should require annual disclosure of all relevant financial information in a clear and concise manner which allows the accounts to be easily understood. Reports should include a breakdown of how donations are distributed, including what goes into admin costs, and what goes directly to those in need.
Cllr Crowe said: “This will have the added benefit of incentivising charities to be as efficient as possible