#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 12°C Thursday 28 October 2021
Advertisement

Dublin's homelessness authority wants ICHH to be wound up 'as soon as possible'

An internal report for ICHH detailed four serious allegations made against the charity’s founder, Anthony Flynn.

THE DUBLIN REGION Homeless Executive (DRHE) said today that it is “strongly of the view” that Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) should be dissolved or wound up as soon as possible.

The DRHE is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority to deal with homelessness in the capital.

It said today in a statement that it is “absolutely shocked” by reports of very serious allegations relating to ICHH.

It said:

The DRHE is now strongly of the view that the organisation/charity ‘Inner City Helping Homeless’ should be dissolved/wound up in an orderly way and as quickly as possible. Any remaining services provided by ICHH can easily be transitioned into other service providers and the DRHE can assist in that process.

Investigations are continuing into allegations of sexual assault against Anthony Flynn, the late homelessness campaigner. The 34-year-old Dublin councillor and founder of ICHH was found dead in tragic circumstances at his home in East Wall in August.

An internal report for ICHH, released in the past few days, detailed four serious allegations made against Flynn.

The DRHE said today: “We are particularly distressed that some of our most vulnerable citizens may have been subjected to serious sexual abuse while seeking support and assistance for their homeless situation.

“Our main concern is for those affected by the reports circulating in recent weeks, and we are advising anybody who has been a victim of such a crime to report it directly to the Gardaí.”

The DRHE and the HSE have now arranged for a professional advice and support service. Appointments can be arranged by contacting 087 3266630 between 10am and 4pm each day, it said. 

Its outreach service (Dublin Simon) and Housing First Intake Team (Peter McVerry Trust) will also advise homeless persons of this service as they engage with them, said the DRHE.

The executive also said it “very much welcome[s]” the comments from the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris around the issue of vetting those who interact directly with vulnerable homeless persons.

Attending the Scott medal ceremony in Dublin last Friday, the Garda Commissioner said: “There are strict criteria as to who can be vetted and who aren’t vetted then. In light of this incident, we’ll obviously have to review that because one can regard that the homeless are particularly vulnerable and that then may be an area that needs resolution.”

The DRHE said today that it “is strongly of the view that greater regulation, vetting, and scrutiny is required for organisations/charities that set themselves up as service providers for homeless persons, including the provision of on-street food services”.

Several such organisations not funded by the DRHE have come into existence in recent years and the DRHE and our partner agencies will be endeavouring in the coming months to bring the necessary expanded scrutiny and regulation to all such organisations.

It noted that it is not referring to the larger and more established charities that it funds or partners with, and who “we rely very much upon to provide vital accommodation and support services to homeless persons in Dublin by way of comprehensive service level agreements”.

“While we do contract a range of homeless service NGOs to provide certain specialist services for the DRHE, ICHH was not a provider of services for us and received no funding from us.”

The DRHE said that it expects the investigative report into ICHH, commissioned by the former Chair of ICHH, to be published soon. It also expects that the Garda investigations on the allegations made “will continue and that the outcome of this will also be published in due course”.

“We expect that the Charities Regulator will investigate the current deficit in overall governance at the organisation,” it said.

Most important is that if there are any further victims out there, it is essential that they contact the Gardaí or if they require professional support and advice, they should contact the Dublin Region Homeless Executive/HSE.

The DRHE concluded: “Over the past 12 months or more there has been a plentiful supply of emergency accommodation for homeless persons and currently there is an adequate number of beds in the system to cater for all who require such accommodation in Dublin.”

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One Programme this afternoon, Deputy Chief Executive of Dublin City Council Brendan Kenny said that the DRHE could ensure that all of ICHH’s services could be passed on to other charities if it wound up.

“We’re satisfied that the services that are being provided can be transitioned and done by other organisations, and we’ll certainly assist with that,” he said.

Report

The internal ICHH report, seen by The Journal, was prepared by former chairman of the charity David Hall, who wrote that he was informed on 7 August of two sexual assault complaints made against Flynn.

Flynn had previously denied knowledge of any allegations of any nature being investigated by gardaí against any ICHH member of staff. 

Both complaints made to gardaí “involved alleged serious sexual assault”. 

One involved a 21-year-old man who was classified by gardaí as “extremely vulnerable” and allegedly occurred in May this year. The man said he was brought by taxi at 2.30am to Flynn’s home where he stayed the night.

Contact numbers:

  • Support Service for Victims 087 3266630
  • Rape Crisis Centre 1800 778 888
  • Homeless Freephone 1800 707 707
  • Dublin Region Homeless Executive (General Enquiries) 01 222 6611
  • Dublin Simon Outreach Service 01 872 0185
  • Dublin City Council 01 222 2222

Read next:

COMMENTS