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Families remember loved ones lost to Stardust fire on 40th anniversary

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the fire at the Stardust nightclub in Dublin where 48 young people died.

FAMILIES ARE PAYING tribute today to loved ones who lost their lives in the Stardust nightclub on the 40th anniversary of the fire.

On 14 February 1981, 48 young people died in a fire at the club in Artane, Co Dublin, and over 200 more were badly injured.

The community is marking the anniversary at the location of the club in Artane with poetry and other tributes as they reflect on the 40 years that have gone by. 

92 Stardust 40yrs Samantha Mangan, who was just four years old when her mother Helena died in the fire at Stardust, reads a poem at the 40th anniversary of the fire. Source: Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

45 Stardust (1) Dublin Fire Brigade at the 40th anniversary of the Stardust fire. Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

13 Stardust 40Yrs Louise McDermott, whose two brothers William and George and sister Marcellla died in the fire, speaks at the anniversary. Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell delivered a homily at a memorial mass marking the anniversary of the fire. 

“As your bishop, I come here this morning to stand in solidarity with you in your inexpressible grief and sadness, to pray both for the victims of this awful tragedy and for healing for the families who suffered such loss,” Farrell said.

“The loss of life is always tragic.  But the loss of young and innocent life is beyond tragedy,” he said.

Farrell referenced the poem that 22-year-old Amanda Gorman read at US President Joe Biden’s inauguration, in which she wrote: “When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”

“In a real way this young woman captures what so many affected by the Stardust tragedy have been looking for these last 40 years: the events of that night 40 years ago have cast a long and deep shadow. To continue with Gorman, this is a ‘loss we carry, a sea we must wade’,” Farrell said. 

02 Stardust Antoinette Keegan at the 40th anniversary of the Stardust fire. Antoinette lost two of her sisters Mary (19) and Martina (16) along with 46 other young club-goers. Source: Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

81 Stardust Lorraine and Suzanne Keegan, who lost their sisters Mary (19) and Martina (16). Source: Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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Tweet by @Stardust Source: Stardust/Twitter

In 2019, the Attorney General granted new inquests into each of the 48 deaths from the fire.

The new inquests came after protests, petitions and press conferences by campaigners, including 48,000 postcards calling for further inquries.

However, a delay from the Department of Justice in paying legal costs for the victims’ families could mean the inquests will not start until this summer at the earliest, which has been met with disappointment.

Today’s memorial is a quieter one than what might otherwise have taken place because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The community is asking that people light a candle and say a prayer to mark the 48 people who died.

The below are the names of all those who died in the Stardust fire:

  • Michael Barrett
  • Richard Bennett
  • Carol Bissett
  • James Buckley
  • Paula Byrne
  • Caroline Carey
  • John Colgan
  • Jacqueline Croker
  • Liam Dunne
  • Michael Farrell
  • David Flood
  • Thelma Frazer
  • Michael French
  • Josephine Glen
  • Michael Griffiths
  • Robert Hillick
  • Brian Hobbs
  • Eugene Hogan
  • Murtagh Kavanagh
  • Martina Keegan
  • Mary Keegan
  • Robert Kelly
  • Mary Kennedy
  • Mary Kenny
  • Margaret Kiernan
  • Sandra Lawless
  • Francis Lawlor
  • Maureen Lawlor
  • Paula Lewis
  • Eamon Loughman
  • George McDermott
  • Marcella McDermott
  • William McDermott
  • Julie McDonnell
  • Teresa McDonnell
  • Gerard McGrath
  • Caroline McHugh
  • Donna Mahon
  • Helena Mangan
  • James Millar
  • Susan Morgan
  • David Morton
  • Kathleen Muldoon
  • George O’Connor
  • Brendan O’Meara
  • John Stout
  • Margaret Thornton
  • Paul Wade

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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