Wednesday 21 August 2019

'We’ll never give up fighting for justice' - families of Stardust victims demand new inquest into 1981 tragedy

Solicitor Darragh Mackin and family members of the Stardust victims who handed in an application for a fresh inquest to the Attorney General office. Pic:Mark Condren
Solicitor Darragh Mackin and family members of the Stardust victims who handed in an application for a fresh inquest to the Attorney General office. Pic:Mark Condren
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Families of those who died in the Stardust fire in 1981 marched to the office of the Attorney General this morning to demand a new inquest into the tragedy.

Antoinette Keegan, who lost two sisters in the fire, held back tears as she wheeled her elderly mother to the government building on Merrion Street.

“We’ll never give up fighting for justice,” she said. 

“We have suffered long enough and are constantly being reminded of our loss. A new inquest, based on our evidence, will surely lead to the truth once and for all.”

Ms Keegan was joined by dozens of other campaigners who believe this is their last chance to seek justice for their loved ones that perished in the blaze.

The families legal representative Darragh Mackin submitted new legal documents to an employee of the attorney general as the large group gathered outside the building. 

It is their hope that this formal application will lead to a new inquest.

The fire at the Stardust nightclub in Artane, Dublin, on February 14, 1981, remains the worst fire disaster in the history of the State.

A 1981 tribunal of inquiry had found the most probable explanation to be arson. 

The families claimed researcher Geraldine Foy reviewed thousands of transcripts from the original Keane tribunal investigation, stating that she had discovered new evidence which disputes the original findings that the fire began in a seat.

Last year, the Government requested retired judge Pay McCartan to look at their findings, but his assessment found there was no new evidence and no new inquiry warranted.

The families, who rejected Mr McCartan's verdict, hope a new inquest will offer an opportunity to legally examine this and other evidence not considered at the original inquest. 

They also want verdicts on their loved ones' deaths.

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