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'We need closure on this': Stardust families call for memorial on site of fire which is now up for sale

Families of victims of the fire today called for local election candidates to back their calls for a memorial at the site.

(l to r) Antoinette Keegan, Lynn Boylan and Eugene Kelly
(l to r) Antoinette Keegan, Lynn Boylan and Eugene Kelly
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

FAMILIES OF THE victims who died in the 1981 Stardust fire have called for a permanent memorial to be put in place at the site, after the business park where the nightclub was located was put up for sale in recent weeks.

At a press conference this afternoon, families also called for candidates running for Dublin City Council to pledge to campaign for such a memorial at the site ahead of the upcoming local elections.

The Butterly Business Park – where the Stardust club was located – is located in Artane and has been listed for sale by agents Quinn Agnew.

The fire, which tore through the club in north 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.

An inquiry into the blaze previously put forward arson as the probable cause, but this was rejected by families and later overturned as part of a separate inquiry a decade ago.

Campaigners delivered a series of new documents to the Office of the Attorney General earlier this month as part of their bid for a new inquest into the fire. Stardust victims’ families are due to meet with the Taoiseach late next month.

Antoinette Keegan, a leading member of the campaign who lost two sisters in the fire, said at a press conference today: “We want a fitting memorial for the 48 people who were killed.

We need closure on this and we need to have something there that represents the biggest disaster in the history of this state. We’re calling on candidates in the local elections to support us in our campaign by giving us a commitment they’ll follow this through with us. 

Image from iOS (12) A copy of the pledge the families are seeking local election candidates to back

Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin MEP who is running again in the upcoming European elections, told reporters: “The families, once again, weren’t informed that the sale was going ahead. They only found out by opening the newspapers, or by having people ring them to tell them. 

There’s been no respect shown to the families in terms of having a fitting memorial on the site… What we’re calling for is that any new owner of the site has an opportunity now to do right by the families and wipe the slate clean. 

Eugene Kelly, whose brother Robert died in the fire, said today something tangible on the site is needed for the victims and their families.

“At least the people will have a place to go where they’ll know where the people died in the fire,” he said. 

Keegan said that a museum and garden to mark the tragedy would be a fitting memorial.

“People can go and put momentos there because that’s where their loved ones died,” she said, before adding: “They still don’t have justice and truth to this day.”

With reporting from Nicky Ryan

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Sean Murray

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