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'I'll carry on my late mother's fight to get justice for Stardust victims'

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Campaign: Antoinette Keegan (left) with her mother Christine Keegan, who died aged 84 this week. Photo: Tom Burke

Campaign: Antoinette Keegan (left) with her mother Christine Keegan, who died aged 84 this week. Photo: Tom Burke

Campaign: Antoinette Keegan (left) with her mother Christine Keegan, who died aged 84 this week. Photo: Tom Burke

The daughter of Stardust campaigner Christine Keegan has vowed to fulfil her mother's lifelong campaign for justice following her death earlier this week.

Antoinette Keegan said her mother (84) died on Tuesday believing that the State had finally fulfilled its promise to hold a new inquest into the deaths of 48 young people, including her sisters Mary (19) and Martina (16), who died in the horrific fire at the Stardust nightclub in Artane, north Dublin, on St ­Valentine's Day 1981.

Despite a promise by Attorney General Séamus Woulfe last September that a fresh inquest will be held into the blaze, the family has still not been given a date, despite lobbying for one for almost four decades, Ms Keegan told the Irish Independent.

Yet to comfort her dying mother, who took ill on the 39th anniversary of the tragedy, Ms Keegan said she felt she had to lie to her and tell her a date had finally been set.

"She died not knowing [this was not the case]," she said.

Antoinette and Christine became leading campaigners for justice and were heavily involved in the Stardust ­Victims Committee.

And to honour her mother's long crusade for justice, Ms Keegan said she would carry on the fight for answers.

"I'm more determined now than I ever was," she said.

"We're left here lingering on like beggars. But I'm not letting it go. There's my poor mother gone to meet her maker. It's an absolute ­disgrace," she said.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, attendance at her mother's funeral on Saturday, at St Joseph the Artisan Church in Coolock, will be restricted to just 45 people.

However, anyone who wants to pay tribute to her mother can do so at a memorial service to be held at the Stardust Memorial Park in Coolock at 10am on Saturday.

Inquiries into the 1981 blaze found that a number of escape routes from the dance hall were blocked and emergency doors were locked by chains.

Despite findings of safety breaches, there were no prosecutions over the tragedy.

An initial finding of probable arson meant that injured survivors and relatives of the people who died were unable to sue the club owners and operators for alleged ­negligence.

Irish Independent