Offences

The Act provides for a four-fold categorisation of offences into Categories 1 to 4. Throughout the Act, offences are, as created, categorised as attracting a particular category of penalty.

In Section 871, Chapter 7 of Part 14, those penalties are set out:

  • Category 1 offence – conviction on indictment can result in a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine of up to €500,000 or both; 
  • Category 1 offence - summary conviction can result in a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both; 
  • Category 2 offence – conviction on indictment can result in a term of imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to €50,000 or both; 
  • Category 2 offence - summary conviction can result in a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both; 
  • Category 3 offence – a summary offence only, attracting a term of imprisonment of up to six months and a “Class A fine” (or both); and 
  • Category 4 offence – also a summary offence only, punishable by the imposition of a Class A fine.

A “Class A fine” is a fine within the meaning of the Fines Act 2010 (i.e. a fine not exceeding €5,000).

Part 14 Companies Act 2014


Restrictions and Disqualifications of company officers were previously set out sections 150 and 160 of the Companies Act 1990. Under the new Act, company officers can still be restricted or disqualified but there are new means of both being applied.

Section 819 Restriction
The restriction amounts have been changed in the new Act. The company must now have an allotted share capital of nominal value not less than

  • €500,000 in the case of a Public Limited Company (other than an investment company) or a Public Unlimited Company
  • €100,000 in the case of any other company. 
  • €100,000 in relation to a guarantee company by virtue of the company’s memorandum of association specifying that the amount of the contribution on the part of a member of it is not less than €100,000. The member must be an individual rather than a body corporate. 
  • €100,000 in relation to an investment company by virtue of the issued share capital of the company must not be less than €100,000. The allotment must be in cash. 

Each allotted share shall be paid up to an aggregate amount not less than the amount referred to above including the whole of any premium on that share and each allotted share and the whole of any premium on each allotted share shall be paid for in cash.

Section 839 Disqualification
A person is automatically disqualified for 5 years if that person is convicted on indictment of any offence under the Companies Act 2014 or any offence involving fraud or dishonesty.

Chapter 5 of Part 14 Companies Act 2014
This chapter relates to Disqualification and restriction undertakings and is a new part of the legislation. This allows the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) to send a notice (acceptance document) to the company officer in question requesting that they take the restriction/disqualification as an undertaking without the need for the court to be involved. Where the acceptance notice is signed and returned to the ODCE within the notice period, no further application will be made to the High Court.