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Bruton secures approval for legislation to reduce red tape on cooperatives

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

enterprise organisation.

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.