Thursday, 15 October 2020
Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment
76. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment if friendly societies that are compelled to hold AGMs will be exempt in 2020 in view of the additional challenges of holding AGMs during the Covid-19 pandemic. [30729/20]
In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, officials in my Department have been liaising with the Registrar in relation to practical difficulties being experienced by entities who have not been in a position to hold physical meetings. Considerations are ongoing in relation to potential legislative change to allow for such meetings to be held remotely, thereby facilitating the subsequent filing of annual returns.
It should be noted that the Registrar has already made decisions in light of the impact of COVID-19. In March 2020, the Registrar took a decision to treat annual returns as received on time if submitted by 30th June 2020. The Register took a further decision in May to extend this arrangement until 31st December 2020 for friendly societies, industrial & provident societies and trade unions filing with the Registry of Friendly Societies.
In accordance with section 27(1) of the Friendly Societies Act 1896, every registered friendly society is required to send the Registrar of Friendly Societies an annual return of the receipts and expenditure, funds, and effects of the society or branch as audited no later than the 31st May each year. Regulation 5 of the Friendly Societies Regulations 1988 (S.I. No. 74 of 1988) provides that the committee of management of a friendly society shall lay before the annual general meeting an income and expenditure account and a balance sheet as at the end of the preceding year.