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incredibly proud Closure of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) described as a 'terribly sad day'

"Many will be happy to see us gone, mostly the ‘powers that be’"

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Anthony Flynn, who founded ICHH, died in August

Anthony Flynn, who founded ICHH, died in August

Anthony Flynn, who founded ICHH, died in August

The Head of Communications at Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) has described the closure of the charity as a “terribly sad day”. 

The charity ceased all services from Monday (November 15) after Judge Mr Justice Brian O’Moore appointed a liquidator to wind down the company after the High Court was petitioned by the Charities Regulator.

The charity faced controversy after its founder and CEO Anthony Flynn was accused of sexual assault and was under investigation by gardai in relation to the two alleged incidents.

Taking to Twitter, Brian McLoughlin paid tribute to the volunteers “as ICHH closes its doors for the final time after 8 years”.

“The amount of incredible work done by compassionate volunteers over that time cannot be underestimated,” he tweeted. “Many will be happy to see us gone, mostly the ‘powers that be’."

In an earlier tweet he wrote: “We always endeavoured to help anyone that needed it. We hear how people that use soup runs aren't always homeless. Newsflash there's 600,000 living in food poverty, 200,000 are children. They deserve help as well, would some people actually begrudge someone a meal?

“ICHH has seen the housing and homelessness crisis escalate as the years have gone on. Make no mistake this is by choice, the solutions have always been there but have been ignored. Choosing to exacerbate the housing crisis should cost these parties at the next election.

“On a personal level I am incredibly proud to have met and worked alongside some of the greatest people I have ever met. While a few of us were in the media the secret to our success was always the volunteers, the unsung heroes driven by a want to help. Truly inspiring people.”

He added: “With ICHH closing other services have said they will step in. I'm sorry but they don't do what we did and never will. Our outreach teams brought food, drinks, clothes, toiletries, sleeping bags and a friendly empathetic ear. No official outreach service does this.

“This year so far our outreach volunteers had 20,453 engagements on the streets. 15,848 with men and 4,605 with women. Last year it was 33,565 with 14,602 food bags, 1,921 food hampers and 1,086 clothes orders. I won’t allow this important work to be belittled by anyone.

“As Head of Comms and Fundraising I couldn't have done my work without the incredible support of our charity partners and the public. Whether it was money, food, Easter eggs or Christmas shoeboxes people continuously stepped up. From the bottom of my heart thank you all.

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“The reasons for our closure have been discussed and debated online for weeks now. Often by people with no knowledge of what went on, often from a profile with no real name or photo. This type of commentary has helped no one and just adds to the hurt. Be better online folks.”

A letter from the liquidator Kieran Wallace to the charity’s volunteers confirmed that ICHH will cease providing services to the homeless community from Monday.

In the letter, Mr Wallace told service volunteers that he has transitioned services currently provided by ICHH to other homeless charities to ensure that there are no gaps for those in need.

Charities such as The Dublin Simon Community, The Peter McVerry Trust and Capuchin Day Centre will all face additional pressures once ICHH is no longer in operation.

The court-appointed liquidator also expressed appreciation for those who gave their time to the charity.

“I wish to express my sincerest appreciation to each and every volunteer for all your efforts in providing such important services to the most vulnerable in society and for ensuring that these services continued after my appointment as Liquidator,” he wrote.

“Your efforts have not gone unnoticed, having been noted by Justice O’Moore during the winding up hearing as a ‘heroic contribution’ to our society.”

Service users were notified of the cessation via a notice on the front door of the charity’s office on Amiens St, the Charity’s website and through Dublin Region Joint Homelessness Consultative Forum.

Previously in the High Court, Mr Justice O'Moore noted the petition to wind up the company was very unusual, as it was solvent with a net asset surplus of €850,000. However, he said that the company's governance creates an "ongoing challenge".

James Doherty SC, for the regulator, told the court that the application was made as a last resort, and in the public interest.

The judge praised the work done by ICHH's volunteers, whom he called heroic.

In an affidavit, Helen Martin, chief executive of the charity regulator said that in July she became aware of a concern in relation to alleged sexual assaults by a member of the company on vulnerable service users. Martin said she sent the complaint to An Garda Siochana and sought further information from ICHH.

One of Flynn’s alleged victims told RTE in October that was held by him against his will for two nights and raped.

In April of this year, Flynn gave an interview outside the Dail where he said that vulnerable people in the homeless community were in fear of reporting sexual assault to gardaí.

“Many feel that they might lose their bed if they report in regard to whether they report an issue of sexual assault,” he said at the launch of the ‘Our Voice, Homelessness Survey, Empowerment to Rights' report.

“Many of the individuals feel, basically that they won’t be heard and that nobody is listening to them and that there isn’t a proper complaints procedure in regard to reporting or even they do report that that report won’t be heard of or won’t be investigated."

“Many feel that they might lose their bed if they report in regard to whether they report an issue of sexual assault or whether it be an issue with regard to their rights being violated within homeless service systems,” he added.

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