Review of Legislation for Co-operatives


Co-operative Housing Ireland has welcomed the announcement of a review of the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893 to 2005 by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (April 2009)

These Acts provide the legislative framework within which most co-operatives are legally registered, and incorporated with limited liability status in Ireland. The regulatory provisions of the Acts are administered by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.

However, the principal Act dates back to 1893 in the reign of Queen Victoria, prior to Irish independence. The main legislative provisions have not been subject to any comprehensive updating since then.

Although, many aspects of modern good governance are carried on by the co-operative societies as part of their normal business affairs, the Acts are now regarded as having shortcomings which merit review and appropriate changes or updating where, or if, necessary.

It is noticeable, for instance, that the Acts do not, in fact, refer to “co-operative” societies, although they have provided the means for such societies to obtain legal registration. The co-operative movement, through its various sectors, has played a significant economic and social role in Ireland for over a century using this model of legal incorporation.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has committed itself to a review and the making of desirable changes in the legislation during the period 2009 to 2011.

A Consultation Paper on the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts has been issued by the Co-operative Legislation Unit of the Department. Submissions are being sought by the 30th June 2009.