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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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New report examines charity law violations during 2016 Assembly elections

Northern Ireland’s charity regulator has revealed in a new report how three charities came to be issued with regulatory guidance during the 2016 Assembly election.

On each occasion the charity or its trustees speaking on behalf of the charity directly endorsed candidates or campaigned for them.

The case studies provided by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland are essential reading for charity trustees unsure about charity law and also for political parties seeking support this election time.

Earlier this month the Commission was forced to issue a warning to trustees of a Belfast-based charity after social media activity appeared to show their members supporting a particular party’s candidates.

The Commission’s Chief Executive, Frances McCandless, said:”Charities cannot be established for political purposes and their interaction with politics must only be as a way to advance their charitable purposes.

“The release of this report demonstrates not only the situations that charities must avoid but also the Commission’s determination to ensure that the charity sector remains independent, as the public expect.”

Charities that are in doubt or are in need of further guidance should consult the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland guidance, available at

Read the report.