The Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) is to write to the Department of Justice to recommend that charitable collections only take place in the district of the court that grants the licence.
The move follows concerns raised at this week’s JPC meeting, which heard that the city is being targeted by charity “rackets”.
Committee members were told that the current system, where national charities receive licences from Dublin courts that allow them to collect nationally, combined with the fact that many charities outsource collections, means it is difficult for the authorities to monitor charity activity.
Councillor Niall McNelis said scratch cards being sold in the city had been purchased by the sellers and sold on for personal profit.
“They’re always one step ahead,” said Cllr McNelis of the card vendors, who he said had circumvented a ban on using tables on the street by using improvised trays which they wore on their person.
Cllr Declan McDonnell said that, in some cases, as little as five per cent of the proceeds of the sale of scratch cards made its way to the charity whose name adorned the card.
Some of these sellers were also committing dole fraud in selling these tickets, he claimed.
“People claiming to be selling tickets voluntarily are actually making €100 a day on top of their dole,” said Cllr McDonnell.
Cllr Michael Crowe also expressed his doubts as to the charitable merits of some of the city’s scratch-card sellers.
“A lot of these aren’t charities in my opinion. It’s a racket,” said Fianna Fáil Cllr Crowe.
“The public have serious concerns about the legitimacy of these causes,” he added.
Superintendent Marie Skehill said that, if the vendors produced legitimate authorisation, there was nothing Gardaí could do.
Supt. Skehill said some individuals had been brought before the courts for collecting without having proper charitable status and that other cases were pending.
City Manager Joe O’Neill told committee members that the council’s hands were tied if these vendors had a permit and said monitoring this activity was made difficult by the fact that the licences were issued in Dublin.
“We have no idea what’s being applied for before the courts in Dublin,” said Mr O’Neill.