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  • Northside West

Dublin’s ICHH double winners

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019 8:00am
Dublin’s ICHH double winners

Ann Birney was crowned as Best Dub at this year’s 98FM Best of Dublin Awards.

Dublin’s ICHH double winners

Ann Birney was crowned as Best Dub at this year’s 98FM Best of Dublin Awards.

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THE Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) team is celebrating after volunteer coordinator Ann Birney was crowned as Best Dub at the 98FM Best of Dublin Awards less than 48 hours before founder member Anthony Flynn was elected onto Dublin City Council.

It’s just rewards for the charity founded in 2013 as a local response to the increased number of people sleeping rough around Dublin.

On its first night 40 volunteers from the North Inner City came together for a soup run around the city. The charity continued to develop over the years and now has over 220 volunteers on its books and an office on Amiens Street open 14 hours a day, five days a week.

Last year the ICHH CEO Anthony Flynn was awarded a European Citizen’s Prize for 2018 just a week after being presented with the Best Dubliner title at the 98FM Best Of Dublin awards.

This year it was Ann Birney’s turn to be crowned Best Dub at a ceremony in the iconic Guinness Storehouse. Ann, who began working with ICHH after a 40-year career in the banking sector, described her award as testament to the fantastic work of those around her.

“It’s an amazing charity, people are amazing, it’s an amazing cause and I don’t know where I’d be without it. It’s my whole life now,” she told 98FM.

Ann began with ICHH after finding herself at a loose end following retirement and an illness. She started helping out a couple of hours a week but within a few months was spending 12 hours a day with the charity.

However, Ann has witnessed an increase in homelessness during her time with ICHH and believes the situation is getting out of control.

“We need more and more volunteers,” she said. “We need more people with passion, insight and empathy who want to go out there and help other people and that’s what we’re all about.

“I wish we didn’t have to do it. It would be absolutely amazing if somebody came along with a solution to fix it tomorrow. That’s what we’re working towards. 

“It breaks my heart to hear the stories when somebody knocks at the door. We can’t actually do enough for people.”

Ann picked up her award on election polling day, when ICHH CEO Anthony Flynn was hoping his campaign for a council seat would attract enough votes.

In the end it did, with Cllr Flynn elected on the final count.

“Thanks to everyone that got out and voted,” he said after his election was confirmed. 

“This is just the beginning. We’ve had an amazing journey the last few months but the real work starts here. 

“It’s time for change and I believe that that is forthcoming.”

ICHH are always looking for volunteers. Anybody interested can email volunteering@ichh.ie.

Anthony Flynn with hs 2018 Best Dub award. PHOTO: ANDRES POVEDA

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