A newly released book examines how the brutal murder of Declan Flynn mobilised the LGBT+ community into action and brought about monumental changes throughout Ireland.
Founder of Irish Central, Niall O’Dowd, looks back on the history of the Declan Flynn murder case in his new book A New Ireland: How Europe’s Most Conservative Country Became its Most Liberal. As stated in the books description, “It’s not your father’s Ireland. Not anymore.”
On September 9 1982, Declan Flynn, 30-years-old, was ambushed and murdered in Fairview Park by a gang of youths, all in their early teens. His death brought the LGBT+ community together in both mourning and outrage at the pervasive homophobic attitudes within Ireland. In an excerpt of O’Dowd’s new book, he titlted the piece, ‘The murder that changed Ireland’.
In such a short span of time, Ireland has changed radically and largely for the better. Though there is still much work to be done in terms of representation and adequate hate crime legislation, O’Dowd’s book A New Ireland takes a look at the various changes which brought Ireland to this point. From the waning power of the Catholic Church to Repeal the 8th, he tells ‘the story of a modern revolution against all odds.’
The book recounts the case of Declan Flynn through the perspective of the defence attorney representing the young attackers, the Irish Times, Senator David Norris, Flynn’s father, and many others. It acts as a harrowing reflection upon this time period and shows why the case altered the course of Irish history.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Flynn’s nephew Niall Behan has previously stated, “You only ever read about the last part of his life, but we wanted people to know about the life he had. It brings it back to the reality that this was a person and counteracts what the judge said, that lack of value he placed on Declan. We wanted to bring back his life, that he was a person, full of life and laughter.”
A New Ireland honours the memory of Flynn and what his death meant for the LGBT+ community, highlighting how this horrific crime sparked a ‘modern revolution’. It reads, “By his death, Declan Flynn transformed the gay community in Ireland who realized they had to organize in order to be protected. After marriage equality was passed, in May 2015, many laid flowers at Declan Flynn’s memorial. His horrific death had not been in vain. Ireland had changed utterly.”
You can buy A New Ireland here.
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