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Families vow to fight for truth of Stardust victims

Stardust tragedy campaigners have insisted they still want a State apology for the disaster despite a call yesterday by a young woman who lost both her parents in the fire to "let the victims rest in peace".

Antoinette Keegan, who lost her two sisters in the blaze and who spent two weeks in hospital on life support battling her own injuries, told the Herald she still wants justice.

"I want to move on with my life. People want to move on and start living again but we need the truth to come out and we can't get justice until it does."

tribunal

Gertrude Barrett who lost her son Michael in the fire says she wants the State to apologise. "The State was not responsible for the fire which killed 49 young teenagers but they interfered with the cause of justice.

"Within four days they had set up a tribunal, while I was still sitting in the morgue waiting for my son to be identified. He was the last one to be identified."

She criticised the setting up of the tribunal because she said: "Tribunals keep issues out of the court room, let people off the hook and cost the taxpayer bundles of money. I don't want to see anyone's head on a plate but my child never came home and I want someone to take responsibility and apologise."

Lisa Lawlor (33) spoke publicly for the first time yesterday to the Herald about losing her mother and father in the Stardust fire in Artane on Valentine's night in 1981.

The mother-of-two, who was just 17 months old at the time, said she hoped the fight for justice did not go on for another 10 years. "What happened that night was tragedy, the State is not at fault. Please, let them rest in peace."

But while Antoinette Keegan said Lisa Lawlor was entitled to her opinion, she said it was a personal one and other people involved did not feel they got justice.

"The truth is still not out there and until it is we are never going to get closure. I don't want to relive the Stardust every day but I do want to get the truth out once and for all," she said.

Gertrude Barrett added: "Truth frees you and justice is part of healing. What is the problem in this country that they can't say sorry.

"There was trauma first before you ever got to the grief and then we had to live 28 years with our children being called arsonists until that was withdrawn.

"I want an apology for my son Michael."

csheehy@herald.ie


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