The Vegetarian Society of Ireland Constitution
(as last amended at the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 31st March 2012)
(1) The name of the Society hereby constituted shall be “The Vegetarian Society of Ireland” hereinafter referred to as “the Society”.
(2) The Main Aims and Objects shall be:
- to advance education, and to promote the positive aspects of vegetarianism in relation to health, animal welfare and environmental issues.
- to create more awareness of the Society, and to inform the people of Ireland about vegetarianism.
- to co-operate with other organisations which promote the fundamental ideals of vegetarianism.
The VSI supports both vegetarian and vegan aims.
(a) The Vegetarian Society of Ireland defines a vegetarian as one who does not consume meat, fish or fowl and who aims to avoid the use and consumption of battery hen eggs and slaughterhouse by-products in food, clothing, cosmetic and household products.
(b) The Vegetarian Society of Ireland defines a vegan as one who adopts a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. In dietary terms veganism refers to the practice of dispensing with all animal produce – including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milks, honey and their derivatives.
(3) Membership of the Society shall be on the basis of:
(a) ordinary members paying an annual subscription as specified by the Executive Committee;
(b) other special categories accepted by the Executive Committee and paying a subscription acceptable to the Executive Committee.
(c) Applicants for membership shall declare that they will not knowingly consume the flesh of animals (meat, fish, fowl) as food and wish to be a Full Member of the Society, or that while they cannot yet practise vegetarianism at all times they agree with its principles and wish to be an Associate Member of the Society.
(4) The Annual General Meeting shall be the policy-making body of the Society. Special General Meetings may be convened by the Executive Committee at the request of thirty members.
(5) The Executive Committee shall carry on the work of the Society and shall normallymeet monthly. It shall consist of not more than ten persons elected annually by a ballot of all Full Members of the Society. Associate Members of the Society may not vote or be members of the Committee. The Committee shall appoint from among its members such officers as it finds necessary for the efficient running of the Society. A quorum at Committee meetings shall be half the members.
(6) An Annual General Meeting shall be held annually and each member and recognised local committee shall receive reasonable prior notice of the date, time and place of the meeting, the agenda of the Meeting together with a copy of the audited accounts. Not more than two resolutions may be submitted by an individual member or group of members.
(7) Local Committees having similar objects to the Society’s may set up subject to recognition by the Executive Committee, and they shall have the right to send representatives to the A.G.M., the number of representatives to be decided by the Executive Committee.
(8) Finance. The Society shall be financed by membership subscriptions and from special appeals, donations, sales and functions. The treasurer shall be responsible for the proper keeping of accounts on behalf of the Executive Committee and shall see that they are audited. An auditor shall be appointed at each Annual General Meeting.
(9) Discipline. The Executive Committee shall have the right, by a two thirds majority, to expel any member of the Society if it can be shown that such a member was clearly working against the interests of the Society, such an expulsion to be confirmed by the following A.G.M.
(10) The Constitution may be altered only by a simple majority of members at the Annual General Meeting, or at any Special General Meeting convened at the request of thirty members, at least thirty days’ notice being required of any notice to amend, which shall be circulated to all members. No addition, alteration or amendment shall be made to or in the provisions of this Constitution for the time being in force unless the same shall have been previously approved in writing by the Revenue Commissioners.
(11) The Society is non-party political and knows no barriers of race or creed.
(12) Dissolution / Winding Up. If upon the winding up or dissolution of the Society there remains, after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities, any property whatsoever, it shall not be sold to or distributed among the members of the Society. Instead such property shall be given or transferred to some other charitable institution or institutions having main objects similar to the main objects of the Society. The institution or institutions to which the property is to be given or transferred shall prohibit the distribution of its or their income and property among its or their members to an extent at least as great as is imposed on the Society under or by virtue of Clause 13 hereof. Members of the Society shall select the relevant institute or institutions at or before the time of dissolution, and if and so far as effect cannot be given to such provision, then the property shall be given or transferred to some charitable object.
(13) Income and Property. The income and property of the Society shall be applied solely towards the promotion of its main object(s) as set forth in this Constitution. No portion of the Society’s income and property shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus or otherwise howsoever by way of profit, to the members of the Society. No Officer shall be appointed to any office of the Society paid by salary or fees, or receive any remuneration or other benefit in money or money’s worth from the Society. However, nothing shall prevent any payment in good faith by the Society of:
(a) reasonable and proper remuneration to any member of the Society (not being an Officer) for any services rendered to the Society;
(b) interest at a rate not exceeding 5% per annum on money lent by Officers or other members of the Society to the Society;
(c) reasonable and proper rent for premises demised an let by any member of the Society (including any Officer) to the Society;
(d) reasonable and proper out-of-pocket expenses incurred by any Officer in connection with their attendance to any matter affecting the Society;
(e) fees, remuneration or other benefit in money or money’s worth to any Company of which an Officer may be a member holding not more than one hundredth part of the issued capital of such Company;
(14) Keeping of Accounts. Annual audited accounts shall be kept and made available to the Revenue Commissioners on request.