Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has accused the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter of using insults and bluster to avoid answering important questions about the charity sector:
Senator Cullinane said:
“The Minister failed to answer the questions I put to him in the Seanad today.
“Not only that, he resorted to throwing insulting remarks and comments at my party in an effort to deflect from the obvious shortcomings in the Charities Regulation Bill 2009.
“This is not acceptable. The Minister is paid by the tax payers of this country and he should answer pressing and legitimate questions when they are put to him.
“In 2009 Fianna Fáil published a shiny piece of legislation claiming to regulate the charities sector but never implemented it.
“Labour and Fine Gael have had almost three years to rectify this but instead they rested on their laurels and dragged their feet, until scandal after scandal left them with no other option but to agree to the establishment of a regulatory authority.
“Unfortunately the failure to act on this issue has created the scandals we are now witnessing.
“Despite the fact that it is welcome and a step in the right direction, the establishment of a charities regulatory authority by Easter is simply not good enough.
“We need all the provisions of the 2009 Bill enacted and we need it done as soon as possible.
“The most vulnerable in our society are already suffering massively due to the unfair and unjust cutbacks implemented by this Government.
“The failure to fund the schemes on which many of our most marginalised people depend has meant that more and more people are relying on charities for sheltered employment, educational provision, training, recreation, and shockingly, food.
“The charities sector is now filling a gap which in the era of the Welfare state was the responsibility of government.
“The neoliberal pro market right wing policies pursued by this and previous governments has resulted in the erasure of any notion of state responsibility for the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable etc. A privileged and cosseted political class now control the Irish state and their concern is the market, not people.”