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Irish charity regulator accused of failing in its duties

Howard Lake | 9 June 2015 | News

A former charity director has accused the Irish charity regulator of having no power after it refused to intervene in a dispute over fundraising activity and governance issues.
According to the Irish Examiner, David Hall, a former director of the Saoirse Foundation, wrote to Úna Ní Dhubhghaill at the Charities Regulatory Authority in March expressing his concerns at what he claimed were attempts by the Foundation CEO Tony Heffernan to block the board’s efforts to appoint an external company to carry out a review of certain fundraising events and a governance review. Mr Heffernan has rejected these claims.
However the regulator wrote back saying she considered the issue an internal matter and that she would not therefore launch an investigation.
Mr Hall said he and three other directors who resigned from the charity felt abandoned by the regulator and would report their concerns to the Irish police.
The regulator responded to a separate complaint about a major fundraising drive on behalf of the Foundation, saying the authority “is not currently resourced to undertake investigations” because the relevant legislation has not been commenced,” the Irish Examiner reported.
One specific complaint to the regulator concerned fundraising for an ambulance which allegedly had not been purchased or ordered seven months after the fundraising event with differing figures provided for the amount raised.
The Saoirse Foundation was set up by the Heffernan family to help those affected by Batten Disease.