| 10.2°C Dublin

TDs oppose new club on Stardust site

POLITICIANS have supported the Stardust families in opposing plans for a private members' club at the site of the tragedy.

Patrick Butterly & Sons Ltd has applied to Dublin City Council to redevelop the Artane House pub.

The company wants to set up a general gaming area, three private game rooms and a bar in place of the existing pub in the Butterly Business Park in Dublin 5.

If approved, it will have offices and count rooms.

However, a string of politicians have joined the families of the Stardust victims by lodging an objection against the proposal.

TDs Terence Flanagan (FG) and Finian McGrath (Ind) as well as councillors Tom Brabazon (FF), Declan Flanagan (FG) and Sean Kenny (Lab) have all opposed the application.

Mr McGrath cited a "lack of respect to the families of the Stardust fire victims" among his reasons for objecting.

He urged the council to take the families' concerns on board before making a final decision.

In his letter, Cllr Brabazon said it is "most insensitive" to try to "position a private members club at this location".

"It is most inappropriate that the site of this tragedy would be used and defiled in such a way," he added.

Patrick Butterly & Sons did not comment.


Individual families also voiced their opposition.

The McDermott, Kennedy, Keegan and Bissett families, who all lost loved ones in the blaze, sent letters of objection to the council.

The Stardust Victims Committee said the new club would be "totally incompatible" with the area. It added that the development would be "seriously injurious" to the suburb.

"It's our view that the proposal...would not integrate successfully with the existing community and would seriously injure the amenities of the area," the letter adds.

When the existing pub opened in April 2006, families of the Stardust victims expressed outrage.

Initially called the Silver Swan after the original name of the premises, the venue's name was changed to the Artane House. It opened its doors 25 years after the blaze at the Stardust disco on February 13, 1981 claimed 48 young lives.

Antoinette Keegan, who lost her sisters, Mary (19) and Martina (16) in the 1981 blaze, said it was "very emotional" and "very insensitive" that the pub had reopened, with the same name as when the blaze happened.

"I cannot see how anyone would have the heart to hold a licence for that pub," she said.

The tragedy occurred when hundreds of young people gathered for a Valentine's disco.