Calls have been made for a homeless charity in Dublin to be dissolved quickly amid serious allegations of sexual assault against its founder.
Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) was founded in 2013, as a result of increased numbers of people sleeping rough in Dublin.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), which is provided by the Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority to deal with homelessness in the capital, has said today that it is "strongly of the view" that ICHH should be dissolved or wound up as soon as possible following the allegations made against its former chief executive, who was found dead under tragic circumstances in August.
In a statement today it said that it is "absolutely shocked" by reports of these allegations, adding "We are particularly distressed that some of our most vulnerable citizens may have been subjected to serious sexual abuse while seeking support and assistance for their homeless situation.
“Our main concern is for those affected by the reports circulating in recent weeks, and we are advising anybody who has been a victim of such a crime to report it directly to the Gardaí.”
An internal report for ICHH, released in the past few days, detailed four serious allegations made against the founder.
The DRHE also said today that it “is strongly of the view that greater regulation, vetting, and scrutiny is required for organisations/charities that set themselves up as service providers for homeless persons, including the provision of on-street food services”.
Comments from the Garda Commissioner were very much welcomed at the Scott medal ceremony in Dublin last Friday. The Garda Commissioner said: “There are strict criteria as to who can be vetted and who aren’t vetted then. In light of this incident, we’ll obviously have to review that because one can regard that the homeless are particularly vulnerable and that then may be an area that needs resolution.”
“While we do contract a range of homeless service NGOs to provide certain specialist services for the DRHE, ICHH was not a provider of services for us and received no funding from us", added the DRHE.
The DRHE said that it expects the investigative report into ICHH, commissioned by the former Chair of ICHH, to be published soon. It also expects that the Garda investigations on the allegations made “will continue and that the outcome of this will also be published in due course”.
Investigations are continuing into the allegations.
Most important is that if there are any further victims out there, it is essential that they contact the Gardaí or if they require professional support and advice, they should contact the Dublin Region Homeless Executive/HSE.
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