The CEO of the Charities Regulator has called on the public to alert her office if there are concerns about organisations in the sector.

Last year, the regulator launched three investigations into charities, the highest in one year since the Office was established six years ago.

Launching its 2020 annual report, the CEO of the Charities Regulator Helen Martin said it remains reliant on the public for information.

She said: "I think a lot of people assume that other people will have informed the charities regulator, so we often hear that phrase 'oh the dogs in the street knew there was something going on there', that's not actually the case, so we really do rely on and really welcome the public interaction if they feel that there's anything going on in a charity that maybe they're not comfortable about."

The number of charities registered last year increased by 912 on 2019.

There are now 11,426 charities registered in Ireland.

Helen Martin says a number of those are schools which were required to register with the Regulator, as well as community groups and organisations with an environmental focus.

Of those that are registered, the most common charitable purposes are those aimed at benefitting the community at 54%.

The advancement of education is at 33%, relief of poverty or economic hardship 7.5%, and religion 6.6%.

The Minister of State with responsibility for Charities Joe O'Brien said the continued registration by charities with the Regulator is a signal that there is "a vibrant and growing charity sector".

Minister O'Brien stressed the need for the public to have trust in the charity sector and that there is accountability for public and private money that goes towards charities.

The Minister said the reaction of the charity sector during the pandemic and the people they reached in vulnerable situations means it has proven itself to the public and to other Government Departments.

'It helps me to make the case for supports for the sector within my own department, but across other departments as well", he said.

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