Representatives of the Sisters of Mercy prepare to meet the Minister of Education in 2011
Ceist is a charitable trust company set up by a number of Irish religious orders, into which ownership of the school property of those orders is intended to – and in many cases has been – transferred.
The orders are the Daughters of Charity, Presentation Sisters, Sisters of the Christian Retreat, Sisters of Mercy and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
The Sisters of Mercy alone has transferred 66 school properties, worth €412m, to Ceist whose directors include Senator Ronán Mullen.
Ceist’s memorandum and articles – publicly available from the Companies Office – define its purpose as the furthering of the aims and purposes of Roman Catholic education generally, and state that its assets are to be used for that purpose.
However the ability to legally transfer school property into Ceist – a trust is limited by the existing charitable trusts on which that property is held where property or money is bequeathed or given for a particular charitable purpose, it must be used for that purpose only.
A widening of that purpose, or transfer into another charitable trust with a different – purpose, is not permitted without consent of the Charity Commissioners – or the High Court.
BUT we are unable to find any record of such consent having been given in respect of any property transferred by the orders to Ceist.
Charitable trusts are permitted because of their public benefit and are under the care and responsibility of the Attorney-General.
To which we ask:
Is this massive transfer of property legal?
Previously: These Are Just Tactics