Sligo case first of its kind under new Charities Act

The 50-years old father of four who set up the Twist soup kitchen and charity in Sligo town has been given suspended five-month prison sentences on each of nine counts of breaches of the charities regulations.

At Sligo District Court this afternoon, Oliver Williams, with an address in Loughrea, Co Galway, was ordered not to engage directly or indirectly in any alleged charitable business for two years.

Judge Kevin Kilrane also directed that Williams not apply to register a charity in his own name or indirectly in another person’s name.
The case brought by the Charities Regulator related to the failure to register the Twist soup kitchen and the Twist shop in Sligo town as charities.

It was the first case of its kind brought under the new Charities Act.

Registering them requires that their operation complies with certain conditions and regulations.

An investigator for the charities regulator gave evidence of visiting the charity shop and seeing no cash register or receipts being given for purchases.

The court heard a phone number used for the soup kitchen and shop was the same as one for a car hire business in Loughrea, Co Galway.

The court was told Williams had 20 previous convictions, including one under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act for which he got a two-months suspended prison sentence.

Williams said there was ‘no bad intention here’ and he would endeavour to do better.

But Judge Kilrane said he doubted that would arise.

The Twist soup kitchen and shop in Sligo are now closed, and Judge Kilrane ordered stock and any monies belonging to them to be handed over to the local St Vincent de Paul Society.

Pointing out that Williams has previous convictions, the Judge said it was important he was ‘stopped in his tracks.’

Outside the courthouse, John Farrelly, CEO of the Charities Regulatory Authority, gave his reaction to the result of what is the first case of its kind under the new Charities Act: