All the Members of both Houses and the public at large will have been appalled by the revelations concerning one of the charities most associated with our nation's silent crisis, the loss of life through suicide. There are now five investigations under way between the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the HSE, the Charities Regulatory Authority and the remaining directors of Console itself. We all look forward to the outcome of those reports in order that we can have some peace of mind that the charity's good work over many years can continue and that its reputation can be cleaned up.
There is, however, a very serious issue at large with the some 3,000 other charities. There is clearly an issue among some with what is referred to within the charity sector as founder's syndrome, which has often served to undermine the introduction of good governance and appropriate management controls. Apart from all this, however, is the failure of these Houses to commence provisions of the Charities Act 2009, in particular Part 4. It is incumbent on the Government to explain why, during the previous Administration and this one so far, the Oireachtas and the Government have failed to provide the necessary provisions to commence that part of the Act in order that the Charities Regulatory Authority can begin to do the work which it was set up to do. Why do we have a regulator if it does not have the teeth or the resources to do what we wish it to do? As things stand, the regulator can only seek materials from these organisations with the agreement of the organisations themselves, so in effect, despite its good intentions, it can do no work. Can the Government confirm, therefore, that it will commence the provisions relevant to resourcing and giving the regulator the necessary teeth, as envisaged by the 2009 Act, before the summer recess and that the necessary resources will be provided to do that?
Over recent years €12 million of public funds has been made available to the charity in question. Many millions more were donated and fund-raised by service users, their families, relatives and neighbours and the many communities throughout the country which have been hit with the blow of loss of life through suicide. These are people who cannot afford to give money or to dig deep and fund-raise and give valuable resources throughout a recession and a most difficult period in this country, yet they do. The Oireachtas and the Government have a responsibility to ensure this Act is more than just window dressing. We need to see tangible action to introduce the provisions of this Act that give the regulator teeth in order that we can begin to focus on the other 3,000 charities, most of them doing an excellent job. They are entitled to the peace of mind of knowing that their hard work, taxpayers' money and donations are going to a good cause that is appropriately managed with the appropriate level of governance.