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Regulator targets ‘charity’ shops

Regulator targets ‘charity’ shops

The Irish Charities Regulator is cracking down on unregistered ‘charity’ shops.

One shop owner has been prosecuted, three shops have ceased trading and seven shops no longer market themselves as “charity shops”, following actions by the Charities Regulator since 2016.

A public update notice published this week by the Charities Regulator notes that one shop, the Twist charity shop, closed down following the successful prosecution of the owner, Mr Oliver Williams, in February 2017 at Sligo District Court. Three other shops, the Second Chance Boutique, Belmullet, the Charity Boutique, Naas, and the Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue have closed following the receipt of “cease and desist” letters from the Charities Regulator.

Seven shops have amended their shop fronts or other notices in response in order to make it clear to the public that they were not a charity, which made them compliant with the Charities Act 2009.

Charities Regulator Chief Executive John Farrelly explained: “All charity shops must operate as part of a registered charity and all proceeds must go towards that charity’s charitable purpose.”

He added: “If the public see a shop that they think, or any reasonable person would think, is a charity shop, but is not part of a registered charity let us know and we will step in.”

How to check

He also urged the public to check the charities register to be sure that any “charity shop” they are going to support is a registered charity shop.

Under Section 41 of the Charities Act 2009 it is an offence for any person to advertise on behalf of, to invite members of the public to give money or property to, or to accept such money or property on behalf of, a charitable organisation that is not registered, or for an unregistered charitable organisation to carry on such activities.

Since 2016, the Regulator has received concerns from members of the public relating to 28 shops that they believed were charity shops but which were not registered charities. Concerns relating to 14 shops remain open while concerns relating to three shops were closed after it was established there was no breach of the Act.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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