Charity is big business in NI…

THE IMC has suggested that charities may be fronts for paramilitary money laundering (see pages 33 & 34). This is completely unsurprising, as the law, such as it exists here, on charities is simply not enforced.

Whatever the Government might spin to you, I can assure you that charity is more or less unregulated here. Generous people are ripped off every day by NI charities. Some charity workers take most of the donations as income. There is no Charity Commission, as there is everywhere else in the UK, despite the furore over the Children’s Hospice. When someone asks you to fill a plastic bag with old clothes to leave outside your door for collection, someone is making money. There is no control over profiteering, and this is badly damaging the income of legitimate, registered charities here, of which there are many.

The DoE was supposed to be in charge of listing which charities were legitimate or registered, but it doesn’t take these duties seriously, nor does it have any real powers. The authorities are complicit in this state of affairs. I remember the RUC lending trucks to one Ballymena charity to use to take goods abroad to those in need. The man who ran it was later prosecuted for breaking charity law, and – as far as I know – is still profiting handsomely from his ‘charity’ work.

Another Ballymena Red Cross worker went one step further, and gave trucks donated by the MoD to Serb forces during the conflict there in the 90s. The white and red trucks were simply repainted when they arrived, stocked up with handcuffs from other UK police forces. These were then used to hold political prisoners captive.

It sounds unbelievable, but is absolutely true.

So to discover that our local terrorists are profiting from your generosity is only to be expected. Don’t expect the government to do anything much about it soon though. It will continue to prevaricate with its review for many months to come.

But the paramilitaries needn’t worry about losing money; Paul Murphy is about to offer the paramilitaries another carrot – he will drop the suspension of block financial assistance to the PUP and Sinn Féin that followed the last IMC report.

What a charitable act.

  • Alan

    *So to discover that our local terrorists are profiting from your generosity is only to be expected.*

    Now how might that be?

    Most small charities run youth clubs, pensioners dinners, summer schemes and the like. They sometimes get money from Govt. and charitable funders to do that. They don’t make a profit from it, most have no workers, use volunteers and therefore don’t pay tax. It’s all about self help. They also report to their own communities on an annual basis. Also charities themselves have been asking for regulation and appropriate support for some time now.

    Certainly there may be one or two organisations which the IMC may be interested in. Better, however, to be specific, rather than tarnish everyone with this kind of insinuation.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Alan

    I specifically DIDN’T tar every charity with the same brush. I wrote: “…this is badly damaging the income of legitimate, registered charities here, of which there are many.”

    I have heard plenty from respectable, registered charities over the years to stand by my comments. The examples I used were as specific as I felt was necessary.

    There is NO requirement here to register, and those who are legitimate are losing out on millions every year because of the mess charity legislation is in.

    Simply put, there is not a level playing field for charities. Some are UK-wide, and branches here will largely keep within the law as it exists in England. It is the small, independent, run-for-profit charities that you have to be more careful about.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I had a wee trawl on the Parliamentary website for Westminster – which has one of the worst search engines I have ever had the misfortune to use – and found the following.

    It appears the Government has no intention of changing the status quo here at all, until they review the situation in England and Wales. This means we will be lining the pockets of the unscrupulous while decent charities suffer losses for a number of years yet.

    Well done Direct Rulers!

    Mr. Spellar: Only charities based in England and Wales are registered. The provisions for the monitoring and policing of charities which are also limited companies are the same as for those which are not.

    In Northern Ireland:

    the Inland Revenue deal with charitable status for tax purposes;

    the PSNI can investigate any criminal offence alleged by or in connection with a charity;

    the PSNI license street and house-to-house collections; and

    the Department for Social Development can look at any dispute not involving criminal activity.

    In Northern Ireland, most complaints about collections or criminal activity fall to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The Department for Social Development will consider non-criminal complaints but, like the Charity Commission for England and Wales, cannot interfere in a charity’s affairs where the trustees have acted properly (for example, where there is a dispute between trustees as to which of a number of equally legitimate policies should be pursued) or

    11 Mar 2004 : Column 1659W

    consider cases which concern disagreements between trustees or between trustees and members which can and should be settled by the trustees themselves (for example, over the details of the employment of particular staff or selection of beneficiaries).

    The Government are currently considering proposed changes to the charities legislation in England and Wales and elsewhere with a view to deciding whether changes to the existing Northern Ireland charity legislation would be desirable. Any proposed changes will, of course, be the subject of public consultation as well as consultation with interested bodies.

    Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what plans he has to introduce a charity commissioner for Northern Ireland;
    [158888]

    (2) what plans he has to bring the law governing charities in Northern
    Ireland into line with that in England and Wales. [158889]

    Mr. Spellar: In Northern Ireland the systems for dealing with charities are different from those in England and Wales:

    the Inland Revenue deal with charitable status for tax purposes;

    the PSNI can investigate any criminal offence alleged by or in connection with a charity;

    the PSNI license street and house-to-house collections; and

    the Department for Social Development can look at any dispute not involving criminal activity.
    In Northern Ireland, most complaints about collections or criminal activity
    fall to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The Department for Social
    Development will consider non-criminal complaints but, like the Charity Commission for England and Wales, cannot interfere in a charity’s affairs where the trustees have acted properly (for example, where there is a dispute between trustees as to which of a number of equally legitimate policies should be pursued) or consider cases which concern disagreements between trustees or between trustees and members which can and should be settled by the trustees themselves (for example, over the details of the employment of particular staff or selection of beneficiaries).

    The Government are currently considering proposed changes to the charities legislation in England and Wales and elsewhere with a view to deciding whether changes to the existing Northern Ireland charity legislation, including the option of establishing a Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, would be desirable. Any proposed changes will, of course, be the subject of public consultation as well as consultation with interested bodies.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/vo040311/text/40311w09.htm#40311w09.html_sbhd5

  • jack kelly

    There is nothing new about being suspicious of charity activity. The Leonard Cheshire charities were srtaed by Lord Denning and his former law tutor (Leonard Cheshire’s father). The charities of Cheshire’s wife, Sue Ryder, had Airey Neave and Henry Sporborg as founding trustees (impeccable MI6 pedigrees there then) and Head of the Sue Ryder Support Group was Sir Eric Berthoud … see the overthrow of Mossadeq with Richard Rapier Stokes the champion of the rights of SS to enter UK after the war.

    If you visit the web site http;//www.matron-mcgill-decd.com/ … then you will see that Matron McGill formed suspicions of the activity of the charities and that, unknown to each other, a regional crime squad sergeant in wales formed his own suspicions. You can read the unchalleneged affidavit about this. The RCs man was allegedly intimidated by Special Branch in an attempt to dissuade his further inquiry into GP Death Registratioin practices in the charity care home network. He defied this warning and shortly afterwards died attracting a suicide verdict. As did poor Matron McGill.

    Yes there is a charity commission … but what use is it ? British Irish Rights Watch has registered objectives with the commission which includes to educate about the Irish security situation … yet they fail to advise about the Garland Plan when asked about industrial sabotage. In fact there was an attempt to complain to the commission that BIRW uses its status to mislead.

    There is another charity “Inquest” with its registered zone of operation as England and Wales and its remit in Inquest Law. Inquests are not appealable under the European Convention of Human Rights. So what were barristers from the charity doing getting involved with the Farrell Savage McCann case, in European Court of Human Rights, alonside BIRW ? The death was not in England or Wales and the appeal process did not arise from Inquest Law in England and Wales.

    A barrister from “Inquest” also deployed on the Phillip Seed custody death in Margate in 1995. Seemed strange that a charity barrister would deploy when the family already had legal representation. Could the interest have arisen because the Coroners Officer and the IPCA invigilator were both Kent Police Deal bombing case witnesses ?

    The inquest was actually abandoned after letters of concern were sent to the Attorney General that there may have been copnspiracy to gain grounds for appeal (to entrap the Attorney General public interest custodianship). Anyway the Thanet HM Coroner stood down and the functus offcio deal bombing HM Coroner from Dover took over … so someone appeared to take the warning seriously.

    I wonder if you recall the end of the cold war ? Two famous organisations rushed to set up in Moscow. MacDonalds and Leonard Cheshire Homes ?

    The pressing need, it seems, was for a Cheshire Home to care for Russian army veterans of their Afghan conflict. Cheshire impressed all with his much vaunted catholic humility by sending the Russian home a gift to mark its opening .. a signed portrait of himself.

    My mind boggles. On 5.1.44 Bomber Harris issued a memo establishing that Cheshire was amongst “An idiot group” who had betrayed every bomber stream they had flown with. It seems that even the great Guy Gibson VC may havre tried tomoppose the award of a VC to Cheshire. Gibson died rather suddenly (suspected ground saboatge). Cheshire got his VC.

    After the war Cheshire became a leading voice supporting the British independent nuclear programme. This programme was sort of headed by Sir Charles Hambro etc … the nazi scientist debriefing contract was awarded to Butterworth Press and then Hambros Bank (headed by MI6 Henry Sporborg) funded a penniless MI5 interpreter to buy out Butterworth .. this was capn Bob Maxwell and Pergamon.

    Full circle then .. back to Henry Sporborg the founding trustee of Sue Ryder Homes.

    Should there be greater checks and balances on the activities of MI5 and MI6 .. the judge to ask would be Lord Denning of the Profumo Inquiry .. oh that would be Denning the founder of the alleged MI6 charity front …. Cheshire Homes?

    If terrorists are using charities as fronts one has to ask where they learnt the trick ?