The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has called for charity Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) to be wound up "as quickly as possible," following controversy over sexual assault allegations made against its former chief executive.
The DRHE, the State’s homelessness agency covering the four Dublin local authorities, has said any remaining services provided by ICHH should be “transitioned into other service providers”.
In a statement, the DRHE said it was "absolutely shocked" by the allegations against the charity's former chief executive and founder, Anthony Flynn.
“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,” 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,” it said.
“Any remaining services provided by ICHH can easily be transitioned into other service providers and the DRHE can assist in that process,” it said.
Mr Flynn, who died last month, had been under investigation by gardaí in relation to two alleged sexual assaults.
In recent weeks, two further men came forward claiming they had also been sexually assaulted by the late charity chief executive.
Mr Flynn was a founder of the charity, which ran outreach programmes working with homeless people in Dublin's north inner city. He was also an Independent councillor on Dublin City Council.
An internal report by the former chair of the charity, David Hall, said Mr Flynn is alleged to have sexually assaulted men for whom he had secured accommodation through the charity.
The DRHE called on any further alleged victims to contact gardaí, the Health Service Executive, or the DRHE itself, if they required support.
The Dublin homeless agency said it was of the view “greater regulation, vetting, and scrutiny” was needed for charities that were set up to provide services to the homeless, including on-street soup runs.
“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,” the statement said. The DRHE said this comment did not relate to larger, established charities working in the homeless sector.
“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 statement said.
The agency said it expected the Charities Regulator would investigate “the current deficit in overall governance at the organisation.”
It also welcomed the commitment from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that vetting policy for those working with the homeless would be reviewed.
“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,” the DRHE said.
On Monday, ICHH signalled that it intends to apply to the High Court in two weeks’ time to have it appoint an inspector to investigate the affairs of the charity, and compile a report for the court on its operations and future.