Declan Flynn memorial to be held in Fairview Park on 40th anniversary of his death

Flynn was killed in 1982 by a gang of homophobic teenagers who later received suspended sentences for the murder.

Split screen of Declan Flynn and flowers on a bench where he was killed.
Image: Left: Twitter: @oatmilllk / Right: Twitter: @RiyadhK

Dublin Pride is hosting a memorial for Declan Flynn in Fairview Park on the 40th anniversary of his untimely death. The gathering will take place on Saturday, September 10, the same date that the body of the 31 year-old man was found in 1982.

Flynn had been in the Dublin-based park on the night of September 9 when he was attacked and murdered by a gang of teenagers who wished to rid the area of “steamers”. Almost six months later, the five youths were all handed down suspended sentences and walked out of the court as free people.

While Declan was not the only person to have been targeted by ‘The Rollers’ group (nor was he the only gay man in Ireland to have been killed that year) his death and the events that followed are said to have been the main catalyst for the Irish LGBTQ+ rights movement.

On Saturday, March 19, 1983, hundreds of queer people and their allies marched from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park via the killers’ neighbourhood, protesting against homophobic violence in the country. This event led to the first ever Dublin Pride Parade – an annual occasion of extreme importance to the local LGBTQ+ community.

40 years on, anti-queer violence is once again on the rise, with 2022 being one of the most dangerous years in Ireland for LGBTQ+ people. On Sunday, April 10, the community was shaken by an attack on Dame Street that left gay man Evan Somers with serious physical injuries. In the same month, two men in Sligo were murdered and another seriously assaulted in separate incidents that are suspected to have been motivated by homophobia.

On May 16, less than 24 hours before International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), a lesbian couple was attacked at a Dublin bus stop, with one of the victims suffering injuries to her face. On the day of Dublin Pride 2022, three people were allegedly hospitalised following a suspected transphobic attack in Stephen’s Green. As recently as August 14, a man was reportedly assaulted verbally and physically by a group on a Dublin Bus, as he made his way home after a night out.

Commencing at 12:30 on September 10, the memorial in Fairview Park will serve not only as a means to remember Declan Flynn and other victims of anti-queer violence, but Dublin Pride will also use the event to call on the Irish government to make good on its promise of introducing long-awaited hate crime legislation. The organisation is inviting all interested parties to attend, with more information to be made available soon on the Facebook event page.


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