A Fairer View

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In 1982 during the summer a series of systematic beatings was carried out in Fairview Park, Dublin. Gay men used the park as a meeting place and for cruising.

On September 10, the gang attacked 31-year-old Aer Rianta worker Declan Flynn. One of the gang was used as ‘bait’ and when Flynn sat down next to him on the bench, the other four rushed out from behind trees.

Their victim managed to run towards the gate and the main road but did not get out of the park in time. They kicked and beat him with sticks and left Declan Flynn lying on the path choking on his own blood. He died within an hour of admission to Blanchardstown Hospital.

His attackers ” were all part of the team to get rid of queers in Fairview Park.”

In March 1983, in court, Justice Sean Gannon gave them suspended sentences for manslaughter and allowed the five to walk free. “This,” he said, “could never be regarded as murder.”

The Night They Killed Declan Flynn (Maggie O’Kane, Magill, 1983)

Dublin: The Fairview Park Murders and the Declan Flynn murder case (Gay History)

Thanks Derrick Howard

64 thoughts on “A Fairer View

  1. ceo

    This must be a wide up right? Sure Bruce Arnold say the gays had a lovely time of it back in them days.

  2. Marion

    Aodhan Madden wrote a very grim play about the Declan Flynn murder called Sea Urchins back in the 80’s. Sadly Aodhan didn’t live to see Fairview Park this evening

    1. Zarathustra

      Marion, I’m sorry to post publicly like this, I don’t have your personal details, but Aodhán Madden [former Irish Press journalist, screenwriter of Night Train] is dead? I used to know him very well, but we lost touch after I moved to the States; he was a wonderful. wonderful man – witty, irreverent, clever, sensitive. I’m really saddened to hear this news, I’ve often thought about him over the years.

      1. Zarathustra

        I just searched and found that he died in January of this year, sorry Marion – I should’ve done that as soon as I read your post, and before I responded – I was away over the New Year that’s why I didn’t hear about it.

  3. Joe the Lion

    Fair play Aodhan in fairness

    A lot of you clowns whining in this site will eat your words about Labour when you experience the next shower of goms

    1. linbinius

      He took a f**kin picture.

      He also took a picture of discarded needles yet there is no mention of how he is going to approach the Minister for Health in combating the rise of prescription narcotics becoming a highly lucrative black market.

      1. Joe the Lion

        What the hell are you on about? What has prescription narcotics got to do with remembering the legacy of a gay man beaten to death in a homophobic attack?

        1. linbinius

          “eat your words about Labour when you experience the next shower of goms”

          Is it because the next shower will lock up the gheys, castrate them and sh*t on the memory of members of the gay community ? You are saying fair play for what exactly?

          Ó Ríordáin has a lot to do considering his portfolio and constituency. Fair play, in fairness is thrown around to easy nowadays.

          I’m sure twas an off hand comment and i probably jumped on you too much but this is an important Labour seat and i would hate to see him breeze by.

          1. Joe the Lion

            You’re really going off the deep end here -are ye alright!!!?

            Whatever you can say about Labour they’re bringing in progressive legislation and in Quinn’s case even made waves to take religion out of schools. If that shower of fine fupp and Fianna even fupper form the next Politburo as looks very likely how many votes on minorities rights do ye give a chance of getting?

          2. linbinius

            @ Joe the Lion

            Mother of Jaysus i threw out my hand and you slapped it back with pro-party bollox and you also mock me because you think i am over-reacting by giving an opposing opinion.

            You know Labour are in government, right? And this soft ball referendum is to get c**ts like you to think at least they are trying.

            Regardless of his party membership he was given a new and important job. He has done nothing other than try win his seat back. Which he probably will. Cause folk like you lap this sh*t up.

            Anyway, have a good Friday and enjoy your weekend.

          3. linbinius

            @ Joe the Taint

            I voted Labour.

            You are a goon. I take back what i said about your weekend.

          4. Jane

            Ó Ríordáin was out at 7am this morning in Fairview. Just thought I’d mention it – I was pretty impressed by his energy and commitment.

    1. Ppads

      I’m no legal eagle but I think that in those days a ‘crime of passion’ was accepted by the courts as a legitimated defence in cases of homophobic violence. I’m not sure when that was changed.
      It’s hard to believe that is only 33 years ago but given the abuse some of the Yes canvassers have been on the receiving end of, maybe not.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        That is some bs right there. The things men get away with because they felt threatened….

    2. Mr. Camomile T

      From what I recall the victim was considered to have “provoked” his attackers, simply by being homosexual. From a contemporary moral perspective it’s outrageous, but given the illegal status of homosexuality at the time the judge acted within the law. Very sad case.

      1. mike

        I’m pretty sure the law at the time didn’t proscribe death by random attack for gay crusing! Equally, I am sure that then laws on murder didn’t provide exceptions for having been made an advance by a gay man.

        So, no, the judge didn’t act within the spirit or the purpose of state law.

  4. Tom Duffy

    This is a really disgusting story. It should have been more publicised. Now you can vote yes.

  5. Formerly known as @ireland.com

    The judge gave these scumbags and others a licence to kill. I am shocked.

  6. Conor

    Would love to know where Tony Maher, Robert Armstrong , Patrick Kavanagh and Colm Donavan are now and if t their sons/daughters know what they did 33 yeats ago.

      1. Bill

        I never said it was and I’m not condoning what the five men did but they shouldn’t of been using a public park where kids play to fulfill their sexual desires. I’m sure they weren’t thinking about marriage when they were having sex with multiple stranger’s.

          1. Bill

            Typical yes supporter comment. Turning into the bigots they despise. congratulations you’ve just got your eqequality.

          2. Bill

            Forget about the tragic death of the man for a moment, are you saying you think it’s OK for men to have orgys in public parks?

          3. Joe the Lion

            Yes forget about the tragic murder of an innocent man, another one of nature’s tragic accidents is erecting a straw man

          4. Bill

            I gave no view on the murder so I don’t see what you have to take offence against. Also you may want to check the definition of a bigot.

        1. Nat King Coleslaw

          Ah Bill. You can’t troll people when you’re (YOUR LOL) being so obvious about it.

          1. Bill

            Whats with the (your lol), trying to be a grammar nazi but getting it terribly wrong. There’s no trolling here anyway. Someone with opinions and thoughts that don’t agree with your own are not trolls. Calling someone a troll is an idiots response.

          2. Joe the Lion

            Sorry to be a grammar Nazi Bill but a bigot discriminates on religious grounds, I merely highlighted that your views on murder are offensive and that you are clearly uneducated.

          3. Bill

            I gave no view on the murder so I don’t see what you have to take offence against. Also you may want to check the definition of a bigot

    1. Bill

      Since when did marriage become a benchmark for equality? This is just a smoke screen for the government and all the fools have fallen for it.

      1. Kieran NYC

        I feel sorry for you, Bill.

        You’re going to have a terrible weekend watching all those happy gays :)

    2. Don Pidgeoni

      Those men shouldn’t have been in the park if they couldn’t trust themselves not to kill someone no

    3. jeremy kyle

      You’re right, they shouldn’t have been hiding out in park waiting to murder someone.

    4. Mr Powers

      @Bill. Think back to 1984 for a moment. There was no internet, limited telephone coverage and an absolute no place that facilitated gay men or women to meet each other. It was very much an underground society and it was kept that was kept that way by the intolerance of society under the ‘moral’ guidance of the church. Of course the fact that members of the church were sodomizing children for years at that stage didn’t matter to them as there’s nothing more acceptable in Ireland than a good old double standard.
      So, if there was no socially acceptable facility for the gay members of society to meet and with no possibility of forming any sort of relationship that was palatable by said society, what else would one do? They would go out at night to meet someone as if it were some clandestine operation and then go home to live their lives as a lie under the guise of being straight.
      One final thing, the number of hetrosexuals out meeting and dogging in public far outweighs the number of homosexuals that ever took part in it. The only difference is that homosexuals did it for a basic human need, hetrosexuals do it for kicks.

  7. Zarathustra

    The comment section here is becoming more like the Journal.ie every day; since when did insults, discrimination, intolerance, bullying, name calling, and argument replace the concepts of tolerance, rational understanding and debate that used to be so prevalent on this site? Anyone?

    1. jeremy kyle

      Influx of trolls caused by the ref, I just scroll through the comments and sigh to myself. Look at a video of cats frolicking in a meadow until I’ve regained the will to continue living.

      We’re almost free.

  8. Bill

    Or it could be that broadsheet has turned into an lgbt site over the last few weeks and valid opinions are attacked by Yes campaigners.

    1. Gav D

      Ok Bill, I’ll bite, and answer your question from earlier.

      No, its certainly not an ideal situation that men like Declan had to hang around in parks in order to meet each other clandestinely. That said, you’re far too aggressively pushing your issue. No-one was “having gay orgies”, nor were there children playing in the park at that time of night.

      The true shame is the fact that hiding their activities in places like this park in the dead of night were what these men had to resort to because of dreadful, provincial, out-dated, bigoted, “legit opinions” like your own.

      Further, there is no circumstance whatsoever where victim-shaming like you’ve indulged in here is in any way appropriate, kind, decent, or dare I say it “Christian”.

    2. Jane

      Give us an example of a valid opinion. That being gay is incitement to murder? Is that a valid opinion? Can you think of no reason at all why most normal people would at least raise an eybrow at that?

  9. yrtnuocecnareviled

    I’m guessing it’s just me and 1 or 2 trolls who remember the good old days.
    It was as horrible as a No campaign.
    The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

  10. Joxer

    I remember this vividly because i knew each and everyone of those involved in the gang. fupping brutal carry-on. i often think about this crime when i am back over there.

    1. Gav D

      Joxer – I understand if you’re not comfortable answering on this (totally fair enough if thats the case), but based on some reading I’ve done on this over the years, there was no mention of what the offenders in the case went on to do. Do you have any insight on this?

      I know a few of them were in the armed forces for example. Did they stay in the area / country? What was local reaction like at the time?

      Cheers

  11. Owen

    This is a very sad story which shows the mind-set, fear and lack of acceptance that Ireland had at the time. There are a lot of people that feel the present day in Ireland, one we are all quite clearly proud of (hopefully by tomorrow!), allows hindsight govern how we would have acted, or how the judge should have acted. Two things stand out to me in this tragedy.

    One, how Ireland has progressed massively towards equality, and two, how particular demographics have sadly deteriorated. The fact that the lads went to get an ambulance after they realised what they had done, and how it appears to have actually haunted a few of them is something I’m sorry to say does not happen these days in the numerous assaults that occur each day in Ireland.

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