ICHH to seek appointment of High Court inspector to review charity

Homeless charity has one remaining director following ‘several’ resignations, says letter

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) is to apply to the High Court to have an inspector appointed to review its operations after a controversy over sexual assault allegations made against its former chief executive.

The charity wrote to the Charities Regulator and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) on Monday, signalling its intention to seek a High Court inspector.

The inspector would review and investigate the affairs of the charity and produce a report detailing recommendations for its future.

The letter, seen by The Irish Times, said the charity only had one remaining director “as a result of several resignations” from its board. Attempts to find “other suitable candidates for appointment as trustees/directors have been unsuccessful,” it said.

The charity said an application would be made to the High Court in two weeks’ time, seeking the appointment of an inspector to “investigate the affairs of the charity.”

The inspector would then “make recommendations to the High Court on the next steps to be taken in relation to the charity,” it said.

The letter, written by the charity’s lawyers Eames Solicitors, was issued on Monday afternoon.

Anthony Flynn, the former chief executive of ICHH 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.

One alleged victim, a homeless man, had been housed by Mr Flynn in temporary accommodation provided by the charity. “While being accommodated by ICHH the CEO sent texts asking this person for sex,” Mr Hall’s report stated.

Another alleged victim, who was facing eviction, had “turned to the CEO of ICHH for help,” and was later allegedly sexually assaulted by Mr Flynn, the report said.

A number of directors, including Mr Hall, had resigned amid the controversy.

Three people who had been nominated for board positions in recent weeks, including Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon, subsequently withdrew their names from consideration.

Independent councillor Christy Burke, who had stepped in as interim chair of the charity, resigned from the role in recent days, along with another director.

The Charities Regulator had been called on to investigate the homeless charity, and has been in correspondence with ICHH over recent weeks.

In the fallout of the controversy, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said that vetting policy around those working with homeless people would be reviewed.

Mr Flynn was suspended from his position at ICHH shortly before his death, for not disclosing that he was being investigated by the Garda for sexual assault.

The charity had initially appointed a barrister, Remy Farrell SC, to conduct a review when the controversy initially emerged in early August.

The appointment of a High Court inspector is rare and the inspector would have wide ranging powers to investigate the affairs of the charity to compile their report for the court.

In an email to the charity’s members, Ann Birney, said as the “only trustee left on the board” she had sought legal advice, after which the charity had written to the ODCE and the Charities Regulator notifying them of the plan to seek a court inspector.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times

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