The Iona Institute creates the impression, on its website and in its media pronouncements, that it is a quasi-academic and objective think-tank, and that it promotes various causes on the basis that they are good for society.
For example, it claims to oppose same-sex marriage not on the basis of religious teachings, but on the basis of the benefit to children and society of encouraging mothers and fathers to raise their own children together.
In reality, the Iona Institute exists solely to advance and promote the Christian religion, and its social and moral values. That is how it describes its object in its memorandum of association lodged with the companies office.
Also, the Iona Institute has tax-exempt status in Ireland precisely because it exists to advance religion, which is one of the four categories of activity that enables charities to have tax-exempt status in Ireland.
Legally, all of its income and property must be applied solely towards the promotion of its main charitable object as set out in its Governing Instrument, which is to advance and promote the Christian religion, and its social and moral values.
The Iona Institute should either openly admit that its sole purpose is to advance and promote the Christian religion, or else it should give up the tax-exempt status that it gets on the basis of having this purpose.
And media interviewers should challenge its spokespersons on this reality, rather than allow them to present their religious proselytizing under the guise of quasi-academic arguments aimed at objectively improving society.
About the Iona Institute
On its About Us page, the Iona Institute website says: The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. We defend the continued existence of publicly-funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion.
The Iona Institute website states that: The Iona Institute is a private company limited by guarantee. The company number is 424940. The charity number is 17347.
The Company Number 424940 is a company registered as Lolek Limited, with its address being The Iona Institute, 23 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
Objects of Lolek Limited
The objects of the Company are listed in its Memorandum of Association.
1. The name of the Company is Lolek Limited.
2. The main object for which the Company is established is: The advancement and promotion of the Christian religion, its social and moral values, and the doing of all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of that object.
3. The following objects set out hereafter are exclusively subsidiary and ancillary to the main object set out above and these objects are to be used only for the attainment of that main object and any income generated therefrom is to be applied to the main object only.
There follows a list of subsidiary objects, such as fundraising, purchasing property, borrowing money etc, and ending with a general subsidiary object of doing all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the main objects of the Company.
Charitable tax exemption
The conditions attaching to charitable tax exemption include:
The body concerned is engaged in an activity under either one or more of the following headings: – Relief of Poverty; Advancement of Education; Advancement of Religion; Other works of a charitable nature beneficial to the community.
The body must ensure that its objects and powers are so framed that every object to which its income or property can be applied is charitable.
The income and property of the charity must be applied solely towards the promotion of its main charitable object as set out in its Governing Instrument.