Red Handed

Eleven 'charity shops' that weren't charities have been caught breaking the rules

Action has been taken by the Charities Regulator over the last year.

SEVEN SHOPS HAVE changed their name, three have closed and one has been prosecuted as part of efforts to prevent unregistered charity shops.

The Charities Regulator has released an update on its work after coming into operation last year.

In that time, the regulator has received 28 complaints from members of the public who were concerned about stores operating as charity shops.

Following investigations, action has been taken against eleven stores and three have been cleared of wrongdoing.

Oliver Williams, the owner of the Twist charity shop in Sligo, was prosecuted in February of this year.

The three shops that have been closed were: the Second Chance Boutique in Belmullet, the Charity Boutique in Naas and Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue.

The regulator says seven shops have also since amended their shop fronts or other notices to make it clear that they are not a charity. These are:


Concerns relating to 14 stores remain open.

Under the charities Act 2009, it is an offence for a store to describe itself or its activities in a way that would cause a member of the public to reasonably believe that they are a charity.

Part of the Charities Regulator’s role is to monitor this and CEO John Farrelly says stores have an obligation to know the rules.

“All charity shops must operate as part of a registered charity and all proceeds must go towards that charity’s charitable purpose,” Farrelly says.

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.

The regulator says the public has played a “key role” in reporting shops that are falsely operating as “charity shops” and is encouraging people with concerns to contact its dedicated concerns phone line at 01-6331550.

Read: Charities regulator had “no choice” but to prosecute soup kitchen owner >

Read: Charity wrongly paid €84k to two former trustees, who were parents of the CEO >

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