Christy Burke takes over as interim chairman of homeless charity

Councillor described former chief executive Anthony Flynn as having ‘heart of pure gold’

Councillor Christy Burke has temporarily taken over as interim chair of the board of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), following the recent resignation of David Hall.

Mr Hall stepped down as chair of the board earlier this week, citing recent threats to his personal safety.

Mr Burke, an Independent councillor for Dublin north inner city, has agreed to take over as chairman “for a short period of time,” the charity said in a statement.

“There will be an EGM held in the near future and further updates will follow from that meeting,” the statement said.

The north inner city-based homeless charity has seen significant turmoil in recent weeks, following controversy related to its former chief executive, Anthony Flynn.

It had emerged that Mr Flynn had been suspended from ICHH and that gardaí were investigating allegations against an employee of the charity.

The following week, Mr Flynn, founder of the charity and Independent Dublin city councillor, died in tragic circumstances.

Speaking at his funeral mass, Mr Burke, his fellow Dublin city councillor, said Mr Flynn had “a heart of pure gold” and “made a mark on this world that will never be erased.”

He paid tribute to Mr Flynn’s outreach work with the homeless charity, and criticised recent media reporting surrounding him.

One source within the homeless charity said recent events had shocked volunteers and staff, and expressed serious concerns for the future of the organisation.

In an email to volunteers on Friday, Mr Hall, who also runs private provider Lifeline Ambulance Service and iCare housing body, told volunteers the death of Mr Flynn was a “tragedy.”

He said an initial statement from the charity noting an employee had been suspended over serious matters “was in response to media enquiries”.

The days after Mr Flynn’s death had seen an “unwarranted social media blame campaign”, which had led to “personal safety threats against me and others,” Mr Hall said.

“I was advised by gardaí that due to threats to my own personal safety, it is not safe for me at this time to attend the office. I’ve been unable to attend the office since Anthony’s passing. As a result, we are faced with a situation where proper governance or support is impacted,” he said.

Mr Hall said he had informed the board at a meeting on Thursday that he could “no longer fulfil my role as chair and trustee”.

“I have tried everything to ensure everyone knew the circumstances which we faced and the decisions that were made,” he said.

Barrister Remy Farrell SC had been appointed to conduct a review and evaluate the issues of concern in relation to the recent serious matters at the charity.

The ICHH group was founded in 2013 and focuses on outreach programmes working with homeless people in Dublin’s inner city.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times

READ MORE