The 1982 murder of Declan Flynn in Dublin’s Fairview Park shook the Irish LGBTQ+ community to its core and its effects are still felt today. However, much of Declan’s story has been erased from wider society. Fairview Park, a new film dramatising the events of his murder and the aftermath, aims to redress this.
The film has been written by award-winning UK based filmmaker Ellie Hodgetts and is to be co-directed by Hodgetts and Swiss-born writer/director Aymeric Nicolet. Both Hodgetts and Nicolet have a keen interest in creating work involving the LGBTQ+ community, in particular, work that they find to be outside of “normative society”.
Hodgetts explains her motivation behind making the film, “I want to highlight the systemic and blatant homophobia that occurred’ during and after Declan’s murder, and believe that this story is a very important part of recent queer history that is often forgotten.”
Who was Declan Flynn?
Our #shortfilm, Fairview Park spotlights the events leading up to his murder by a gang of teenagers in the early hours of September 10th, 1982, after a series of homophobic beatings in the area.
But the injustice that followed sparked "The Irish Stonewall". pic.twitter.com/UV8LtndtCn
— FAIRVIEW PARK – A Short Film (@FairviewFilm) January 19, 2022
Declan Flynn was beaten to death by four men and one youth who were in the park with the sole intention to “rid the area of queers,” according to one of the attackers’ statements. The park was known as a popular cruising spot. Another statement declared, “A few of us had been queer-bashing for about six weeks and had battered 20 steamers.”
Despite their guilty pleas, all four men were given suspended sentences. The verdict not only shocked the queer community but it garnered support from LGBTQ+ allies such as women’s rights groups and trade unions, resulting in a massive protest demonstration from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park on March 19, 1983.
Although this protest was a turning point for the LGBTQ+ rights movement, often the narrative focusing on the murder and the impact of the verdict omits to remember who Declan was as a person and how his murder affected those who were closest to him. The film aims to cast the spotlight back onto his life. As Nicolet explains, “It is incredibly important to our team to show who Declan was in the most authentic way we can. Above all else, he was a brother, a son and a friend, which is why the film will be told through his lens.”
Will you be supporting our #FairviewFilm crowdfunder launching TOMORROW?
For #LGBTHistoryMonth, we'll be raising the remaining 30% of our overall budget so we can fund a film about #LGBTHistory & Declan Flynn's story.
Spread the word of a short film spotlighting Irish history. pic.twitter.com/49yDFqx0rj
— FAIRVIEW PARK – A Short Film (@FairviewFilm) January 31, 2022
The project has received generous support from the Community Fund and Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride, however, the filmmakers are looking to crowdsource the remaining funding by launching this campaign. If you wish to support this amazing project, you can donate here.
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