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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Alan Shatter rules out any fresh inquiry into the Stardust disaster

The Justice Minister will not be using the new Oirechtas inquiries law to establish a new inquiry into the Valentine’s Night fire which killed 48 people in 1981.

The scene of a fire at the Stardust nightclub where 48 people died on 14 February 1981
The scene of a fire at the Stardust nightclub where 48 people died on 14 February 1981
Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

JUSTICE MINISTER ALAN Shatter has ruled out any possibility that new legislation allowing for parliamentary inquiries will lead to a fresh examination of the circumstances surrounding the Stardust nightclub fire 32 years ago.

Shatter said that given there isn’t “any identified [new] evidence” it “would not be in the public interest” to establish an inquiry into the fire which killed 48 people and injured 214 on Valentine’s Night, 1981.

“No new information has been put forward which would warrant a departure from this conclusion,” Shatter said in a written answer last month.

Families have campaigned for decades for a fresh inquiry into the fire as they did not accept the original inquiry finding that the blaze in the north Dublin venue was probably started deliberately.

Labour TD Tommy Broughan had asked Shatter if in light of the recently-passed Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures Act would he consider a parliamentary inquiry into the disaster.

Broughan cited the “the continued dissatisfaction of the families that the matter has not been fully investigated heretofore in view of new information that has come to their attention in the recent past”.

Shatter said that an independent examination of evidence presented by the Stardust Victims Committee in 2009 had found that there was no “new or other evidence capable of establishing the cause of the fire”.

“To establish a new inquiry for that purpose, in the absence of any identified evidence, would not be in the public interest. No new information has been put forward which would warrant a departure from this conclusion,” Shatter said.

The examination of evidence by barrister Paul Coffey four years ago found that due to the passage of time and lack of any physical evidence it would not be in the public interest for a new inquiry to be established.

Broughan also asked Shatter if he thought that all the recommendations contained in the Coffey report had been fulfilled particularly with regard to the “counselling and medical needs” of victims’ families.

Shatter said that arrangements to provide services to families have been in place since February 2010 and “this facility remains in place for those who wish to avail of it”.

Read: 1982 Papers reveal changes recommended to fire service in aftermath of Stardust disaster

More: Fire services call for change 31 years on from Stardust tragedy

State papers: RTÉ accused of “undermining” Stardust Tribunal in 1981

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