Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD is to draft
legislation to ease the regulatory burden on co-operative societies and
make it easier to start up and run a co-op as an alternative form of
Minister Bruton secured government approval for the move at a recent
cabinet meeting and is now pressing ahead with the reforms. The move comes
following his recent publication of the Companies Bill, which will
drastically reduce red tape on companies and other moves to reduce the
burden of government-imposed burdens on business.
Announcing the moves, Minister Bruton commented:
“I have consistently said that if we are to get the economy growing and
create jobs in Ireland we will have to work hard to reduce business costs.
A crucial part of this will be to reduce those costs, which are directly
under the control of government: red tape. I made a start on this recently
with the publication of major reforms to company law, which will make it
much easier and cheaper to start and run a private limited company.
“However it is important to recognise that there are alternatives to the
limited company. Other forms of enterprise organisation can play a role in
meeting needs in different sectors, and I am determined to ensure the
legislation governing these models is up to date and that the burden of red
tape is kept to a minimum. This legislation addresses particular problems
which have been identified in the co-operative sector, and will help ensure
that this model can thrive and grow to its potential”.
The proposed new legislation will make the following main changes to the
Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893 to 1978, which is the
legislation applying to most co-operatives in Ireland:
- Ease financial reporting restrictions by extending the period for the preparation and submission of the annual return and accounts
- Abolish the statutory limit on individual shareholdings in societies and the related triennial return of shareholders.
- Make available to societies the examinership process of the Companies Acts.
- Make it easier for cancelled societies to be restored to the register
- Ease fund-raising restrictions for non-agricultural societies.
- Include provision for the cessation of registration of any
2012 has been designated by the UN as the International Year of the
Cooperative, with the aim of highlighting the contribution of cooperatives
to socioeconomic development, encouraging national governments to produce
regulations conducive to the formation, growth and stability of
The Programme for Government commits to promoting appreciation of the
co-operative as a form of enterprise organisation.