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Garda investigation of murder 40 years ago left gay community in fear of being ‘outed’

Liam Collins


The unsolved killing of Charles Self changed how homosexuality was viewed by gardaí and society 

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Mystery: RTÉ set designer Charles Self was stabbed to death in his flat in south Dublin in 1982

Mystery: RTÉ set designer Charles Self was stabbed to death in his flat in south Dublin in 1982

Gay activist Edmund Lynch. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Gay activist Edmund Lynch. Photo: Gerry Mooney

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Mystery: RTÉ set designer Charles Self was stabbed to death in his flat in south Dublin in 1982

The brutal murder of RTÉ set designer Charles Self remains unsolved 40 years on, but the aftermath and the investigation into his killing was the catalyst for changing the way gardaí treated the gay community in Ireland.

In 1982 homosexuality was a crime in this country and the police and some sections of society were deeply homophobic. It would be another 11 years, 1993, before it was decriminalised and the word “gay” became the norm to describe same-sex couples, instead of “homosexual”.


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