Funeral of Anthony Flynn told of his tireless work for weak and vulnerable

‘He took his shoes off and gave them to a bloke that was lying on a cardboard box’

The funeral cortège of  Anthony Flynn as it passed the Inner City Helping Homeless office on Amiens Street in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Tom Honan

The funeral cortège of Anthony Flynn as it passed the Inner City Helping Homeless office on Amiens Street in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

The late Dublin city councillor Anthony Flynn had “a heart of pure gold” and “made a mark on this world that will never be erased,” said his fellow north inner city Independent councillor Christy Burke at the funeral Mass on Tuesday morning.

“And with the continued support of his family and friends, his legacy will live on.”

Founder of the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) charity, Mr Flynn (34), who died in tragic circumstances last Wednesday, was an outspoken advocate for homeless people, particularly rough sleepers, in Dublin city.

“He was a tireless worker for his community and for his constituency, especially for the weak and vulnerable,” Mr Burke said.

The Mass took place at the church of Our Lady of Lourdes on Seán McDermott Street and was celebrated by Administrator Fr Michael Casey. Br Kevin Crowley, of the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People on Bow Street, did a reading.

Mr Burke recalled how, in helping the city’s homeless, he and members of ICHH “would go on the different directions throughout the city on foot and we would’ve come across some very sad sights and Anthony, like Br Kevin, would say to us ‘Don’t ask anybody for their name; don’t ask them what happened, just give them a cup of tea, a pair of gloves, a scarf, and wish them well’. And we would do that.”

He said he was “with Anthony Flynn one night when he took his jacket off and put it round a woman who was perishing in the cold in Temple Bar.

“I was with him another night when he took his shoes off and gave them to a bloke that was lying on a cardboard box, and I gave him two pairs of socks to put on because he wanted to continue with the remainder of the walk.

“That was Anthony Flynn. Never looked down on anybody, only to help them up.”

They attended a Dublin match in Croke Park, “a very tense game”.

“The Dubs were playing and there was a couple of minutes left. I’m not sure whether it was a point or a penalty, and the place went into a silence. He was beside me and just as Cluxton was coming to the ball Anto says to me ‘wait’ll I tell you what I was thinking about the [homeless] project’ and I said ‘shut up, and wait’ll he finishes’. That was Anthony Flynn.”

Mr Flynn, Mr Burke said, “used to call my group ‘the ambulance group’, because we would always meet casualty cases.

“You know, we’d meet people who were after slicing themselves. One stood in front of me and him one night and cut her throat. And he didn’t panic, ‘get an ambulance’. Anthony Flynn, the things he done, the dignity, the integrity.”

“Anthony Flynn, mo chara, go raibh míle maith agat. Slán abhaile mo chara, and, ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dilís.”

Mr Burke was critical of some recent media coverage of Mr Flynn.

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

Among the Covid-19 restricted attendance was Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland and Dublin City Council’s deputy chief executive Brendan Kenny, with many of the city’s councillors and people from the north inner city attending in the Church grounds outside where the Mass was livestreamed on a large screen.

Chief mourners were Mr Flynn’s mother Yvonne, sisters Anita, Lisa and Andrea, nieces and nephews, stepfather Damien, stepsisters Michelle, Tammy and Gemma, “nanny” Lolo, uncle Greg, and extended family as well as colleagues at ICHH. His father, Anto, is deceased.

Afterwards the funeral cortège went by the family’s Lloyds Bar on Amiens Street and the office of ICHH on Killarney Street on the way to Dardistown cemetery where burial took place.