This Week Seanad – 2nd May

This week we were visited by three MEPs, Sean Kelly, Nessa Childers and Marian Harkin, all of whom brought varying perspectives on issues in Europe.

We heard statements on “Beyond the Crisis – the European Parliament working towards the Future”. Address to Seanad Éireann by Sean Kelly, MEP

We debated the National Lottery Bill 2012 – Committee Stage [Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform]

We debated the Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 – Report Stage (Amendments from Dáil Éireann)[Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine]

We heard statements on “EU Public Health legislation – the challenges for transparency in decision making and a role for the Seanad in scrutinising EU policy” Address to Seanad Éireann by Nessa Childers, MEP

We had Private Members Business from the Independent Senators – Taoiseach’s Nominees, which the Government were happy to support. The motion related to the Charities Act 2009 and can be found below.

We heard statements on The Seanad and the EU: strengthening the link”. Address to Seanad Éireann by Marian Harkin, MEP

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“That Seanad Éireann:

• Commends and expresses thanks for the tremendous work being done by the many thousands of Charities operating in Ireland at present;

• Recalls that the Charities Act 2009 was enacted with the aim of supporting and enhancing public trust and confidence in charities, to provide for the statutory registration and regulation of charities operating in Ireland, including the establishment of an independent Charities Regulatory Authority;

• Understands that there are resource considerations that have led to the deferral for the present of further implementation of the Charities Act, including the establishment of the Charities Regulatory Authority;

• Notes that putting in place a dedicated Charities Regulator will help to support and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector and allow it to flourish and reach its full potential particularly aiding the Government’s “National Giving Campaign”;

• Appreciates and welcomes the recent Public Consultation conducted by the Minister of Justice, Equality and Defence Minister Alan Shatter TD, designed to explore ways to progress the Charities Act of 2009 which closed on the 20th March 2013;

• Notes and welcomes that, as stated in the consultation document published by the Department of Justice and Equality on 23 January 2013, statutory independent regulation of the charities sector remains a Government policy objective, and the Department is now working to establish a Charities Regulatory Authority, as provided for in the Act, but taking account of the changed budgetary circumstances;

• Acknowledges and welcomes the report published by Senator Mary Ann O’Brien on the 26th February 2013 which explores the need for Charity Regulation in Ireland and presents various options for discussion in order to achieve a regulated sector.

• Acknowledges the Private Members motion sponsored by the Independent Taoiseach’s Nominees on the 27th March 2013 calling for a national debate on the current context and challenges facing the not-for-profit sector with regards to philanthropy, fundraising, sponsorship and private giving in Ireland which was passed by the Seanad without a vote.

• Looks forward to the publication by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, once the review of the submissions received is completed, of the outcome of the consultation and further information regarding the Government’s timeframe for the introduction of an operational Charities Regulator and full implementation of the Charities Act.

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