'Elated' - Relatives of victims of Stardust disaster react to news of fresh inquest into nightclub fire that killed 48 people
Relatives of some of the 48 people killed in the Stardust disaster have said they are "elated" after the Attorney General announced the granting of a fresh inquest into the 1981 nightclub fire.
Antoinette Keegan, who survived the fire but lost her sisters, Mary, 19 and Martina, 16, took to Facebook to announce the news this evening.
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“We have just received confirmation from the Attorney General that he will grant us a new inquest,” she wrote.
“This is amazing news, we never believed this day would come as you can imagine we are completely overwhelmed with the news and would ask that people give us space tonight to be with our families to absorb it.
“We will be making a full Statement tomorrow. Thank you all so much for all your support.”
A spokesman for Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law issued a statement on behalf of the families.
“The Attorney General has today confirmed that a fresh inquest will be held into the 48 deaths at the Stardust fire, Artane, Dublin, on February 14, 1981," the statement read.
“The families, through their lawyers, Phoenix Law, made a formal application for a fresh investigation by way of an inquest in April of this year.”
Mr Mackin added that the families were “delighted with today’s decision, however we would ask their privacy is respected tonight.”
Ms Keegan had earlier today informed others via Facebook that the families were due to hear of a decision within two hours but sometime after this she revealed online there would be a new inquest.
The families have campaigned for many years for the fire to be further investigated and they had complained of several delays from the Attorney General’s office.
In the early hours of Valentines Day 1981, the fire tore through the nightclub, killing 48 and injuring 200.
A subsequent tribunal heard there had been a practice of locking emergency exits at the venue.
The inquiry also found that arson was the probable cause of the blaze. However this was never proven and no one has ever been held accountable.
A statement from the Attorney General’s office read: “The Attorney General wrote to the representatives of the relatives on Wednesday 25 September, 2019.
“Having carefully considered all aspects of the matter the Attorney General has formed the opinion that fresh inquests into the Stardust deaths are advisable.
“This is because he considers that in the original inquests there was an insufficiency of inquiry as to how the deaths occurred, namely, a failure to sufficiently consider those of the surrounding circumstances that concern the cause or causes of the fire.
“The Attorney General is thus satisfied that the holding of fresh inquests is, on balance, in the public interest and in the interests of justice."