Friday 20 September 2019

State Papers 1988: Bereaved Stardust families to receive least compensation

 

Candles and flowers placed outside Leinster House in Dublin by relatives of the 48 victims (Niall Carson/PA)
Candles and flowers placed outside Leinster House in Dublin by relatives of the 48 victims (Niall Carson/PA)

A secret Government report acknowledged that the families of the 48 Stardust fire victims would receive the least compensation following the conclusion of the public tribunal into the tragedy.

The report, released as part of the 1988 State Archive, confirmed that the State would pay "full compensation if necessary" because the owners of the club were under-insured.

A blaze which erupted in the Stardust nightclub on St Valentine's Day 1981 became Ireland's worst fire tragedy of modern times.

A total of 841 people were at the disco but many were unable to escape the fire and acrid smoke.

Some 214 people were injured, some left with life-changing injuries, but a total of 48 young people died.

A Government briefing memo, prepared in the wake of the Stardust tribunal concluding, outlined the likely costs arising for the State.

"It is impossible to estimate the amount of money that could be involved," it warned.

"Claims are expected to be large but the courts rarely award the full amount involved.

"Relatives of the 48 dead will receive the least compensation, possibly around IR£10,000 each.

"Compensation for injury, particularly for disfigurement and scarring, will be higher.

"Of the 128 people injured in the blaze, however, only about 10 are expected to receive compensation in the IR£100,000 range."

The archive also revealed that the Department of the Environment wanted to tackle industrial relations issues within Dublin Fire Brigade in the wake of the Stardust tribunal concluding, blaming special allowances.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News