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Victory at last for Stardust families

The Stardust families have won their battle to prevent a private members' club at the site of the fire tragedy, just days after the 29th anniversary of the blaze, which claimed 48 young lives.

Patrick Butterly & Sons Ltd had applied to Dublin City Council to redevelop the Artane House pub. The company had wanted 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.

However, city planners rejected the plan, stating the proposed use is not allowed under the zoning.

A string of politicians had 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) all opposed the application.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton and deputies Sean Haughey, Tommy Broughan and Michael Woods also objected.

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

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

The Stardust Victims Committee had stated the new club would be "totally incompatible" with the area and "seriously injurious" to the suburb.

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, it had opened its doors for the first time since the disaster 25 years previously. The name of the venue was subsequently changed to the Artane House.

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," Ms Keegan said.