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(l to r) June McDermott Carroll, Christine Keegan, Antoinette Keegan and Selina McDermott are among the campaigners calling for fresh inquests
(l to r) June McDermott Carroll, Christine Keegan, Antoinette Keegan and Selina McDermott are among the campaigners calling for fresh inquests
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

Families of Stardust victims to meet with Taoiseach today as part of fresh bid for new inquests

Campaigners submitted documents supporting their calls for new inquests to the Office of the Attorney General last month.
May 29th 2019, 6:01 AM 7,166 13

RELATIVES OF SOME of those who died in the Stardust fire in 1981 are set to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today, as they bid to have new inquests opened into the death of their loved ones.

Last month, campaigners submitted new documents to the Office of the Attorney General as a next step in their fight for new inquests.

The fire, which tore through a club in Artane, Co Dublin, on Valentine’s Day in 1981 remains the worst disaster of its kind in the history of the State. Forty-eight people died and more than 200 were injured.

The original inquiry into the fire said that arson was the most likely cause, but this finding – long rejected by the families – was quashed in a separate inquiry a decade ago.

To date, however, the families have been unsuccessful in their goal at opening fresh inquests into the deaths of the 48 people.

They do believe that their latest move is their “strongest” attempt yet at triggering a new inquest, and hope this meeting with the Taoiseach today will help propel the process forward.

Antoinette Keegan, a leading member of the campaign who lost two sisters in the fire, said they have faced “many concrete walls” in their efforts for a new inquest to be held, but are now very confident their latest effort will yield results.

“We want truth, and we want justice,” she said, stressing that ‘it’s not fair on the parents’ of people who died in the fire, some of whom are now unwell, describing the repeated delays as “systematic abuse”.

The belief that this latest attempt could yield results was echoed by Jimmy Fitzpatrick, who himself survived the fire.

“We have more clout to prove our point,” he told TheJournal.ie last month.

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is due to meet us on the 29 May, I would like to put to him, ‘Listen, this didn’t happen on your shift, you lot aren’t responsible for this, so give the families closure, give them a hearing, give them a voice at least’.”

We’re never going away. The mothers and fathers are getting old, but we’re still around, and we’ve got people behind us.

A response from the Attorney General to the documents submitted by the families is expected in July.

With reporting from Nicky Ryan

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Sean Murray

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