Vote to replace Anthony Flynn on Dublin City Council defeated

Councillors voted against nominee to fill seat vacant since Independent’s death last August

An attempt to fill a seat on Dublin City Council, vacant since the death last August of Independent councillor Anthony Flynn, has failed after councillors voted against his nominated replacement.

Councillors on Monday night voted by 26 to 21, with 13 abstentions, against co-opting Geraldine Molloy, a north inner city community activist, who had been nominated by the Independent group on the council.

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.

Last October, Independent councillors had intended to nominate Ms Molloy, a long-time volunteer with the charity, to fill the seat.

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 subsequently 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.

The vote to fill the seat has been twice deferred since. However, Independent councillor Christy Burke on Monday night formally nominated Ms Molloy. Most Independent councillors and Sinn Féin councillors supported the nomination. The Green Party, Fianna Fáil, Social Democrats and Independent councillors Mannix Flynn and John Lyons voted against. Most Fine Gael councillors abstained, while Labour councillors were split - voting for, against, and abstaining.

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 council’s legal advisors will now prepare a report for councillors.

Meanwhile, councillors passed motions condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and seeking a twinning arrangement with the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, to demonstrate solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Separately pedestrianisation of most of Dublin’s Capel Street has been scheduled to begin in May.

Traffic ban

Dublin City Council plans to make the street largely traffic free for a distance of 400m making it the longest pedestrian street in the city, ahead of Grafton Street and Henry Street.

The council plans to ban traffic for most of the length of the street from Parnell Street and Ryder's Row at its northern end, to Strand Street in the south.

Deliveries will be permitted from 6am-11am daily, after which bollards will prevent entry. All car parking will be removed from the street.

The Luas line crosses the street at Abbey Street and traffic will also be allowed to cross at this point but in an east to west direction only.

The pedestrian zone will end at Strand Street, with the area between Panti Bar and Jack Nealon’s pub, to the quays remaining open to traffic.

This will facilitate the new pedestrian plaza on nearby Liffey Street, which the council said requires the use of this part of Capel Street for an exit route for traffic from Liffey Street.

The plans will be presented to local councillors on Tuesday. The council said it will review the operation of traffic on Strand Street in the future to determine if any changes are required.

Unlike Grafton Street and Henry Street, Capel Street will remain open to cyclists, the council said.