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Event Details (EW2020)
Queer-bashing: the homophobic murder of Declan Flynn (1982) and its legacy in the struggle for LGBT+ Equality and Women’s Rights
Declan Flynn was kicked and beaten to death by five youths in a premeditated homophobic attack in Fairview Park, Dublin, on the night of 9th/10th September, 1982. They left him lying on the ground, asphyxiated by his own blood. At their trial, his killers told the court: “We were part of the team to get rid of queers from Fairview Park. A few of us had been queer-bashing for about six weeks before and battered about 20 steamers.” Justice Sean Gannon said: “This could never be regarded as murder”. All five killers walked out of his court with suspended sentences for manslaughter on 8th March, 1983.
LGBT+ activists and supporters publicly articulated the fear and anger that engulfed the silent – and silenced - majority of LGBT+ Irish people. Homosexuality was illegal in the Republic of Ireland, with same-sex consenting adult ‘male persons’ criminalised under the same law that sentenced Oscar Wilde to two years in prison with hard labour in 1895. The Dublin Gay Collective organised a public protest with supporters including the Anti-Amendment Campaign, Women's Right to Choose Campaign, Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Rape Crisis Centre. On 19th March 1983, they marched with several hundred people from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park under the banner ‘Stop Violence Against Gays and Women’. This was the first major united public demonstration against homophobia and misogyny to be held in Ireland.
The murder of Declan Flynn and reactions to his killers’ trial became a milestone in the struggle for LGBT+ equality and its intersection with the struggle for women’s rights in Ireland.
In today’s presentation, Dr Diarmuid Scully, School of History, UCC, outlines these events and reflects on their legacy and impact. Diarmuid teaches the first ever courses on LGBT+ Irish history to be taught in an Irish University at degree level and as part of UCC’s Adult and Continuing Education programme https://www.ucc.ie/en/ace/courses/shortcourses/sc0195/
Free - all welcome. Organised by LGBT+ Staff network