Judge grants petition to wind up Inner City Helping Homeless

ICHH was rocked by controversy in recent months after allegations of sexual assault were made against its chief executive and founder Anthony Flynn
Judge grants petition to wind up Inner City Helping Homeless

A High Court judge has granted a petition from the Charities Regulator for the winding up of the operating company of Dublin charity Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH).

James Doherty SC, for the regulator, said his client was seeking the wind-up of the solvent company on just and equitable grounds. He said this was to ensure books and records could be secured and the charity’s position preserved for stakeholders and service users. It would also allow for a transition of services.

With no objection to the regulator’s request, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore made the order on Monday and appointed Kieran Wallace as the official liquidator.

'Very unusual'

The judge noted the petition to wind up the company was “very unusual”, as it was solvent with a net asset surplus of €850,000. However, in making the orders, he said the company's governance creates an “ongoing challenge”.

ICHH was rocked by controversy in recent months after allegations of sexual assault were made against its chief executive and founder Anthony Flynn. Mr Flynn was suspended by the company and died by suicide in August.

He had been under investigation by gardaí in relation to two alleged sexual assaults. Subsequently, another two men claimed they were also sexually assaulted by him.

Mr Justice O’Moore said the appointment of Mr Wallace was justified for a number of reasons, including that it would bring the company into independent hands and allow for books and records to be secured.

Volunteers

The judge praised the work done by ICHH’s volunteers, which he said “verges on the heroic”.

Last month the Charities Regulator secured a High Court order appointing Mr Wallace as a provisional liquidator to ICHH’s operating company. The application had been made as a “last resort” in the public interest, James Doherty SC, for the regulator, had told the court.

In an affidavit, Helen Martin, chief executive of the regulator, said she became aware on July 28th last of a concern relating to alleged sexual assaults by a member of the company on vulnerable service users. She forwarded the complaint to gardaí the following day and also sought certain information from the company.

Governance

She said there was regular contact with the operating company about concerns over its ongoing governance and the board’s ability, for reasons including the resignations of its chair and trustees, to oversee its operations.

Stephen Brady BL, for Mr Wallace, said on Monday that the provisional liquidator had managed to ensure the charity’s outreach, day and food distribution services have continued, pending a suitable solution. The case management service, supporting some 150 clients experiencing housing difficulties, ceased on August 23rd, he said.

According to the provisional liquidator’s report, Mr Wallace and his team have been working with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive department of Dublin City Council to explore options to transition the charity’s services to alternative providers. Any changes will be communicated to people who currently rely on ICHH services.

Gary Daly, a former director of the ICHH, said the directors did not have an objection to the regulator’s application.

At Mr Daly’s request, Mr Justice O’Moore granted a 21-day extension for the submission of the directors’ statement of affairs.

 

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