Co-operative Legislation not expected until Summer

The List of bills published by the government shows that the expected amendments to the Acts governing co-ops will now not be published until the middle of the year.

Among the measures to be proposed are a relaxation of the fundraising restrictions for non-agricultural co-operatives. This would include renewable energy producer co-ops.
Mr Bruton has stated that he wanted to ease the regulatory burden on co-ops making it easier to establish and manage them as an alternative form of enterprise to the limited company model.

“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.”

The changes proposed will be as amendments to the Act which currently regulated the business of co-ops in Ireland, the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893 to 1978.

While there may be some disappointment that the new bill will not be ready for the start 2012 UN year of the co-operative, the legislation is complex and will have far reaching consequences for all co-ops – in particular co-ops in non-traditional areas such as the energy sector and new technology ventures.