The Charities Regulator has called on members of the public seeking to support the people of Ukraine to ensure their donations go to registered charities.
Under Irish law, an organization that intends to operate or carry out charitable activities in Ireland must apply to be registered with the regulator.
The regulator is an independent body, primarily responsible for ensuring compliance with the Charities Act 2009.
In a statement on Thursday, Helen Martin, chief executive of the Charities Regulator, said the outpouring of support from Ireland for the Ukrainian people has been “immense and underscores the inherent generosity and compassion of the Irish people”.
“Members of the public are seeking to show their support in any way possible and are doing so in numerous ways. But we would ask them to give with their head,as well as their hearts,” she said.
“ We would therefore remind anyone wishing to support the people of Ukraine to ensure that any donations they are making are going to registered charities that have a track record of providing the kinds of practical supports and assistance that the Ukrainian people, and those who are supporting them, need at this time.”
Ms Martin added that there are several existing registered charities operating in Ireland that have significant international experience in both providing assistance to refugees, and also operating within conflict zones.
“It is against the law in Ireland to set up a charity and to start collecting donations without being registered with the Charities Regulator. As anyone who has recently registered with the Charities Regulator will know, this registration process is, by necessity, a rigorous one,” she said.
“It is therefore essential that any member of the public that might wish to raise funds or provide other forms of assistance to Ukraine and its citizens, links to an existing registered charity that has an established organizational framework in place and experience of working in high- risk and dangerous environments. This will help ensure that donations go directly to those most in need.”