17 1977

No. 17/1977:

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1977


AN ACT TO AMEND THE FRIENDLY SOCIETIES ACTS, 1896 TO 1953.

[1st June, 1977]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Definitions.

1. —In this Act—

"the Principal Act" means the Friendly Societies Act, 1896;

"the Acts" means the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977.

Alteration of restrictions on making of loans out of separate loan funds and acceptance of deposits.

2. —The Minister may by regulations alter the restrictions set out in paragraphs (a) to (d) of section 46 of the Principal Act on—

( a ) the making of loans out of a separate loan fund by registered societies or a specified class or specified classes of registered society to members, and

( b ) the acceptance of deposits by registered societies or a specified class or specified classes of registered society from members,

and the regulations may provide for different such restrictions in relation to different classes of societies.

Accounts of societies and audits thereof.

3. —(1) The minister may by regulations—

( a ) require registered societies and their branches to keep such accounts and records of such matters and in such form as may be specified in the regulations,

( b ) make such provision in relation to the audit of the accounts of registered societies and their branches (including the time and frequency thereof) as he thinks appropriate,

( c ) provide that a person shall not audit the accounts of a registered society or a branch thereof for the purposes of section 26 of the Principal Act unless he possesses the qualifications specified in the regulations,

( d ) require the committees of management of registered societies to lay before the annual general meetings of the societies copies of such accounts kept pursuant to regulations under this section as may be specified in the regulations.

(2) Regulations under this section may make different requirements and provisions in relation to different classes of societies.

(3) Regulations under this section shall have effect notwithstanding any provision of the Acts.

Supervisory committees.

4. —(1) In this section "a society to which this section applies" means a registered society of a class in relation to which regulations under subsection (2) of this section apply.

(2) The Minister may, by regulations, require that each society of a specified class or specified classes of registered society operating a loan fund under section 46 of the Principal Act shall, immediately after the first annual general meeting of the society to be held on or after a specified date, have a supervisory committee.

(3) At the first annual general meeting of a society to which this section applies to be held on or after the date specified in regulations under subsection (2) of this section in relation to a class of registered society to which that society belongs, and at each third subsequent annual general meeting of the society, the members of the society present shall elect by secret ballot three members to form the supervisory committee of the society and the committee shall carry out functions and exercise powers corresponding to the functions and powers assigned to a Supervisory Committee under the Credit Union Act, 1966 .

(4) The supervisory committee of a society to which this section applies shall consist of two members of the society who are not officers of the society and a trustee of the society.

(5) The members of a supervisory committee of a society to which this section applies shall hold office until the conclusion of the third annual general meeting of the society following that at which they were elected.

(6) A casual vacancy on the supervisory committee of a society to which this section applies shall be filled by the remaining members of the committee by appointment from among the members of the society and the person so appointed shall hold office until the conclusion of the next annual general meeting of the society following his appointment.

Registrar of Friendly Societies.

5. —(1) The registrar of friendly societies shall be paid such remuneration as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for the Public Service, determines.

(2) The registrar of friendly societies may be removed from office by the Minister. The reasons for the removal shall be conveyed to the registrar and a statement of the reasons shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

(3) So much of section 4 (2) of the Registry of Friendly Societies Act, 1936 , as requires that the registrar of friendly societies shall be a barrister is hereby repealed and in lieu thereof it is hereby enacted that the registrar of friendly societies shall be a person having such qualifications as may be determined by the Minister.

(4) In the absence of the registrar of friendly societies, his powers, functions and duties may be exercised and performed by such person as the Minister may for the time being authorise.

(5) Sections 1 and 5 of the Principal Act shall be construed and have effect in accordance with the provisions of this section.

Amendment of section 77 of Principal Act.

6. —Section 77 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) after "Act" of "or regulations under the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977", and the said paragraph (b), as so amended, is set out in the Table to this section.

TABLE

( b ) with the approval of the Minister, on proof to his satisfaction that an acknowledgement of registry has been obtained by fraud or mistake, or that a society exists for an illegal purpose, or has wilfully and after notice from a registrar whom it may concern violated any of the provisions of this Act or regulations under the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977, or has ceased to exist,

Amendment of section 84 of Principal Act.

7. —Section 84 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion after "by this Act" in paragraphs (a) and (b) of "or regulations under the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977,", and the said paragraphs (a) and (b), as so amended, are set out in the Table to this section.

TABLE

( a ) a registered society or branch or an officer or member thereof fails to give any notice, send any return or document, do or allow to be done anything which the society, branch, officer, or person is by this Act or regulations under the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977, required to give, send, do, or allow to be done: or

( b ) a registered society or branch or an officer or member thereof wilfully neglects or refuses to do any act or to furnish any information required for the purposes of this Act by the chief or other registrar or by any other person authorised under this Act, or does anything forbidden by this Act or regulations under the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977,: or

Power to increase by regulations certain amounts specified in Principal Act.

8. —The Minister may by regulations amend sections 8, 41, 56 to 58, 62 and 65 of the Principal Act, or any one or more of those sections, so as to increase by such amount or amounts as he thinks fit any one or more of the amounts specified in those sections.

Increase of certain penalties under Principal Act.

9. —(1) Section 87 (3) of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution of "£250" for "twenty pounds" and the said section 87 (3), as to amended, is set out in the Table to this section.

(2) Section 88 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution of "£500" for "fifty pounds" and the said section 88, as so amended, is set out in the Table to this section.

(3) Section 89 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution of "£100" for "five pounds" and the said section 89, as so amended, is set out in the Table to this section.

TABLE

87. (3) If any person obtains possession by false representation or imposition of any property of a registered society or branch, or withholds or misapplies any such property in his possession, or wilfully applies any part thereof to purposes other than those expressed or directed in the rules of the society or branch and authorised by this Act, he shall, on such complaint as is in this section mentioned, be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £250, and costs, and to be ordered to deliver up all such property, or to repay all sums of money applied improperly, and in default of such delivery or repayment, or of the payment of such fine and costs as aforesaid, to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, for any time not exceeding three months.

Fine for falsification.

88. If any person wilfully makes, orders, or allows to be made, any entry, erasure in, or omission from a balance sheet of a registered society or branch, or a return or document required to be sent, produced, or delivered for the purposes of this Act, with intent to falsify the same, or to evade any of the provisions of this Act, he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £500.

Fine for ordinary offences.

89. A society or branch, and an officer or member of a society or branch, or other person guilty of an offence under this Act for which a fine is not expressly provided shall be liable to a fine of not more than £100.

Approval of draft of regulations by Houses of the Oireachtas.

10. —Where a regulation is proposed to be made under this Act, a draft thereof shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the regulation shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

Short title, construction and collective citation.

11. —(1) This Act may be cited as the Friendly Societies (Amendment) Act, 1977 .

(2) The Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1953, and this Act shall be construed together as one and may be cited together as the Friendly Societies Acts, 1896 to 1977.