Saturday 25 May 2019

Stardust protest to take place in Dublin

48 young people died in the popular nightclub in Artane, Dublin on Valentine’s Day in 1981


By Aoife Moore, Press Association

A protest march for the victims and survivors of the Stardust fire will take place on Tuesday in Dublin.

Forty-eight young people died in the popular nightclub in Artane, Dublin on Valentine’s Day in 1981 in what is considered the worst fire disaster in the history of the state.

The most recent campaign began in June, and saw the families gather signatures on postcards petitioning the Attorney General for a fresh inquest, travelling the length and breadth of Ireland.

The tally now stands at more than 48,000 – 1,000 signatures for each victim of the fire.

The group will stage a protest on Tuesday, fronted by folk singer Christy Moore, where they will march from Westland Row in Dublin at 11am to the Attorney General’s Office to hand over the postcards, and urge the public to attend.

Christy Moore, who wrote the song They Never Came Home about the tragedy, has been a long supporter of the families’ campaign for a new inquest.

Antoinette Keegan, who survived the fire but lost her two sisters Mary, 19, and Martina, 16, says the support of the renowned singer has been invaluable.

“He’s been behind us from the very start,” she said.

“He’s backed us through everything over the years.

“We were planning to just walk along the path, but when we informed the Gardai that Christy Moore would be leading it, and we told him what the march was for, they told us they’d have to shut off the road, we’re expecting a big crowd now.”

Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan compared the tragedy to the Hillsborough disaster, and urged the public to support the families.

She said: “The public support for the Stardust Truth campaign has been overwhelming, there is a clear public interest in getting to the truth.

“The Stardust Fire was the worst tragedy in the history of the State and is Ireland’s Hillsborough.

“The Attorney General has the powers to set up a fresh inquest that will finally address the many unanswered questions about that tragic night.”

June McDermott – whose two brothers William, 22, and George, 19, died along with their 16-year-old sister Marcella – said the campaign had ups and downs, but too much time had passed to give up.

She said: “I just want us – and now we’re in the fourth generation of families – I just want for all of us to be able to look at our parents and say ‘Look, we did as much as we could for them, and now we have our answers’.”

Press Association

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