The Gist: Scouting Ireland rot, Charity Regulator regulated
Scouting in the past
Unsurprisingly, like lots of Irish organisations put in locus parentis over children, it turns out that volunteering with Scouting Ireland was used as a chance by a bunch of child abusers to attack children. According to the fella hired to do a review, this abuse was likely to have effected hundreds of children and it happened between 1960s and 1980s.
Of course, the reason its coming to light now is that just this year the organisation had its funding suspended, and the entire board of directors resign after the org mishandled current rape allegations and then tried to put the Chief Scout who had done the mishandling in charge of a meeting on good governance.
In some parts of Ireland, the 1980s never ended.
Charity Regulator smacked
The Information Commissioner ordered the Charity Regulator to explain why it decided to Twitter block a complainant (my sister, Róisín). The decision is a significant precedent for the use of Twitter as a communications channel by state bodies. But the real story is still the behaviour of the Regulator in the run up to referendum to Repeal the ban on abortion.
They took no action against No-vote promoting Facebook pages holding themselves out as charities, even though my sister supplied an entire spreadsheet full of bogus pages claiming to represent charities that didn’t exist on the Charities Register. At the same time, the regulator wrote to at least one long-standing artistic venue and threatened to destroy its financial grounding by withdrawing its charitable status unless it destroyed a Repeal-supporting piece of art.
It represented a stunning interference in the public realm at a time of a very significant Constitutional vote. It also reveals a regulator of Artistic charities actively hostile to the most basic tenets of free artistic expression.
So today's ruling from the Information Commissioner on their petulant response when Róisín raised questions about this behaviour with the regulator, and the childish refusal to accept that the rule of law required it to answer for its actions, aren't the amusing side issue they seem.
They're evidence of a rotten institutional culture in a body set up to deal with rotten institutional cultures.
See, sometimes, you get to have thematic unity in a newsletter.