Tuesday 21 November 2017

Hope of new Stardust probe dashed

Christine Keegan, who lost two daughters in the Stardust fire. Picture: Tom Burke
Christine Keegan, who lost two daughters in the Stardust fire. Picture: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Relatives of those who died in the Stardust tragedy have rejected a report that found that no new probe into the blaze that killed 48 people is warranted.

Retired judge Pat McCartan made the assessment after finding that no new evidence has emerged on what sparked the horror fire.

He concluded that due to the passing of time since the 1981 nightclub fire in Artane, its cause "may never be known".

The Cabinet - including super junior minister and local Dublin Bay North TD Finian McGrath - accepted Mr McCartan's findings.

Family members of those who died last night reacted angrily as their hopes of a new probe were dashed and vowed to continue their campaign to see someone prosecuted for the fire.

Antoinette Keegan, whose two sisters died in the Stardust disaster, claimed the report is a "farce" and she insisted they were "rejecting it".

She said the families will seek legal advice on their next steps.

In his report Mr McCartan acknowledges the grief and trauma experienced by those affected by the tragedy, which he said "must be compounded by the failure of anyone to explain the cause of the fire".

However, he concluded that no new inquiry is warranted.

The report says a dossier of new evidence uncovered by the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee was "rambling, argumentative, disorganised and at times incoherent".

It says that much of the material involved proposing a theory on the cause of the fire, but only new evidence would be grounds for a new inquiry.

Responding to the report, Mr McGrath last night said: "I feel for all the families today as I know that they will be disappointed with the outcome of this assessment.

"They have suffered a huge loss and their efforts over 36 years are a testament to their loved ones."

A spokesperson later said Mr McGrath accepts the report because it was carried out by an independent judge who was selected with the approval of the families.

Irish Independent

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