Mass card law: Update

I checked out the website of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs today regarding the criminalisation of those who sell Mass cards without the permission of a Catholic bishop. Specifically, I wanted to know what a commencement order was and how that affected the enactment of the Charities Act, 2009.

The following is from the website’s Q & A section.

When will the Charities Act come into force?

The enactment of the Bill does not in itself immediately bring the Act into force. It is only when the Minister commences individual provisions sections of the Bill that charities will find themselves with new legal responsibilities.

There is a considerable body of work to be undertaken in preparation for statutory regulation. The Department will be rolling out an implementation plan for the Act.

This plan will ensure that the essential elements are in place to enable the introduction in due course of the statutory regulatory framework provided for in the Act.

In other countries, it has taken a number of years after enactment of the legislation for the new regulatory system for charities to be formally introduced. This is likely to be the case in Ireland also, though some individual provisions of the Act may be commenced before the bulk of the Act is commenced.

I rang the Department and was told by a spokesperson that Section 99, which deals with the selling of Mass cards, should be commenced without any great delay.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the Department’s website and ringing from time to time to check on progress.