Rogan meets with Commission over UIC controversy
Sinn Féin Emma Rogan MLA has raised the controversy over one of the North’s largest private hospitals being able to attain charity status with the Charity Commission.
Commenting after meeting with the Commission today, the party’s spokesperson for the voluntary and community sector said many people were shocked to learn that the Ulster Independent Clinic benefited from rates relief due to its charitable status.
The Sinn Féin MLA said:
“The current legislation governing charities in the North is vague and is often determined by ancient case law. While this provides flexibility for organisations to attain charitable status, this vagueness can also lead to confusion as to what constitutes a Charity.
“Today’s meeting provided us with an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the Charity Commission's role and the difficulties it faces in identifying, registering and monitoring charities.
“During the meeting I questioned the Commission as to how charitable status was awarded to the Ulster Independent Clinic. It appears that due to the clinic being able to provide some pro-bono and low cost procedures, the clinic, under law provides ‘Public Benefit’ and can therefore avail of charitable status.
“The legislation should be reviewed to ensure that only genuine charities receive charitable status and the associated benefits.”