Selection of Anthony Flynn’s replacement on Dublin council deferred

Seat vacant since Independent’s death last August could remain empty until 2024

Anthony Flynn, the former chief executive of Inner City Helping Homeless, had been under investigation by gardaí in relation to two alleged sexual assaults at the time of his death. Photograph: Alan Betson

Anthony Flynn, the former chief executive of Inner City Helping Homeless, had been under investigation by gardaí in relation to two alleged sexual assaults at the time of his death. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The selection of a new Dublin city councillor to replace Independent councillor Anthony Flynn, who died last August, has again been deferred by councillors.

Mr Flynn, the former chief executive of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), had been under investigation by gardaí in relation to two alleged sexual assaults at the time of his death. Subsequently a number of other people have also claimed they had were sexually assaulted by him.

In October, a group of Independent councillors had intended to nominate Geraldine Molloy, a long-time volunteer with the charity, to fill the seat at the council’s monthly meeting.

However, councillors unanimously agreed to defer the decision, amid uncertainty surrounding the future of the organisation. ICHH had the previous week applied to the High Court for the appointment of an inspector to investigate the affairs of the charity and report on its operations and future.

The High Court early last month granted a petition from the Charities Regulator for the winding up of the operating company of ICHH. There was no objection to the regulator’s request, and the charity ceased operations in the middle of November.

A vote to fill the empty seat on the council was subsequently put back on the agenda on Monday, but councillors again decided to defer the vote, and not debate the issue.

It is understood no agreement could be reached on a candidate for the seat ahead of the meeting. It was also felt that while the charity had ended its operations, investigations surrounding the allegations of assault and other matters were ongoing and it would be premature to fill the seat.

It is likely the issue will be raised again in January, but it is not certain a candidate will be ratified then.

In the normal course of events where a member of a political party vacates a council seat, that party has the right to nominate a replacement. Independent councillors can nominate their own successor and are asked to submit a nomination to council officials to be held in confidence, in the event of their death. It is understood Mr Flynn had made no nomination despite being asked by officials to do so.

The seat could remain vacant until the next local elections in 2024.

Meanwhile, the council’s controversial whitewater-rafting facility has been scrapped. The council had already shelved the development of the €23 million development for George’s Dock, which had been approved by councillors in 2019, due to funding difficulties.

However, in a report on major city projects planned for the next two years, council chief executive Owen Keegan said the council had been “unable to convince the various State funding bodies, to support the project”. There had been “a considerable amount of negative commentary related to this project,” he said. “This has created a narrative around the project that appears impossible to reverse and that has undermined the planned funding of the project.”