book closed | 

Sexual abuse inquiry into late homelessness campaigner Anthony Flynn ends

The investigation was launched in May last year when a 21-year-old man contacted gardaí, alleging a serious sexual assault

Anthony Flynn was a prominent campaigner against homelessness and an independent councillor on Dublin City Council. Picture by Gareth Chaney

Maeve SheehanSunday Independent

Gardaí have closed the book on the investigation into allegations of sexual assault against the late homeless campaigner Anthony Flynn, who died by suicide a year ago last week.

Two men made detailed statements to detectives about allegations that they were raped by Mr Flynn. At least one other spoke to gardaí but declined to make a formal statement of complaint.

Detectives kept the case open until a number of months ago, as they completed the written investigation report, but no other complainants came forward.

The final garda report was based on a narrative account of the facts. It is understood to have referenced evidence taken from mobile phones, computers and forensic evidence taken following searches of Mr Flynn’s home in north Dublin.

The investigation file was reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions, even though the case was never going to proceed because of the death of the chief suspect. The file was also presented to a garda superintendent for sign-off before the case was closed.

A senior garda source said it was important to close off the investigation and to complete the report on the allegations, even though the case was never going to result in a prosecution. The complainants were referred to support services.

Mr Flynn, who was 34 when he died, was a prominent campaigner against homelessness and an independent councillor with Dublin City Council, representing the north inner city.

He founded Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) and became its chief executive at the time of his death.

The garda investigation was launched in May last year when a 21-year-old man contacted gardaí at Store Street, alleging a serious sexual assault.

The man, who was treated at the Rotunda sexual assault unit, has claimed he travelled to Mr Flynn’s house in a taxi paid for by the charity and was allegedly drugged and raped.

A second man contacted gardaí almost two weeks later, also alleging he had been raped at Mr Flynn’s home.

Both men were homeless and had used ICHH’s services, according to a report by David Hall, who was chairman of the charity at the time.

Gardaí did not inform the board of ICHH about the allegations against Mr Flynn until two months after its investigation began. Mr Flynn was suspended from the charity for not informing the board of the serious allegations. He took his own life 11 days later.

After months of turmoil, ICHH was closed for good following a petition to wind up the company by the Charities Regulator. The closure meant an independent review of the case, prompted by concerns that service users may have been put at risk, was discontinued.

The rape claims continue to be vehemently denied by Mr Flynn’s family, and the allegations have divided the north inner city community in which he lived.

His family’s attempts to nominate his replacement, Geraldine Molloy, to Dublin City Council were rejected in a vote in March, causing a split on the council.

An anniversary mass was due to held last night for Mr Flynn at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.

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