Irish News

Saturday 26 July 2014

Stardust relatives anger at RTE

Published 06/01/2006|00:11

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Ben Quinn RTE has come under attack from one of its best-known radio talk-back hosts over its handling of a drama on the Stardust tragedy.

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Joe Duffy described RTE TV's decision not to enter into any public discussion on the programme as "bizarre".

Survivors and relatives of those who died in the nightclub fire criticised plans for the drama for the third day running on Duffy's Liveline radio show.

They are enraged by the lack of consultation with them about the two-part drama, which will be screened next month close to the 25th anniversary of the disaster.

However, in a statement last night, RTE said two groups representing the Stardust families had been contacted in relation to the programme. The national broadcaster said it had committed to showing the families the programme before broadcast and to take on board concerns about technical details of the fire.

Duffy said on air he was annoyed at the position taken by RTE TV, which declined an invitation to supply a spokesperson to discuss the matter on his programme.

Survivor James Fitzpatrick said he understood he would be portrayed in the drama by 'Fair City' star George McMahon. He said he had never met the actor and had not been approached in advance about the production.

Common courtesy that they should contact people

"I would have thought that it was going to be common courtesy that they would contact people if they were going to produce something like this," he said.

After finding out about plans for the drama from newspaper reports, he said he received a letter from RTE apologising if he had found out about the drama in a "spurious" manner.

Antoinette Keegan, who lost two sisters in the tragedy, said she was shocked when she read that actress Laura Duffy would be playing one of her sisters.

"It happened 25 years ago but it only seems like yesterday to me. It's going to be very upsetting to those who were affected by it," she added.

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