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'We fulfilled our commitments': Justice Minister says no grounds for further Stardust investigation

A total of 48 people died and 214 were injured in the Stardust tragedy.

The remains of the Stardust nightclub in the aftermath of the fire
The remains of the Stardust nightclub in the aftermath of the fire

JUSTICE MINISTER CHARLIE Flanagan has told the Dáil that there are no grounds for another investigation into the Stardust Tragedy.

A total of 48 people died and 214 people were injured in the fire that engulfed the Stardust nightclub in Artane, north Dublin, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, 14 February 1981.

Earlier this year, retired judge Pat McCartan was tasked with examining potential new evidence into the tragedy. He ruled that a new inquiry was not warranted, saying there was no new evidence.

In the aftermath of the fire, a tribunal of inquiry was set up under Justice Ronan Keane. However, a committee of victims’ families rejected the findings which said arson was the “probable cause” of the fire which began in the west alcove.

The Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee has also rejected McCartan’s review and has demanded a full commission of inquiry.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Flanagan said that there is nothing more the government can do.

He said that McCartan informed the Department of Justice that he was in receipt of late material from the Committee after he had already concluded his report.

“Despite having completed his report, Judge McCartan looked at the additional material sent to him. The judge subsequently informed my department that this additional material did not constitute new evidence. As a result, the judges report finding stands,” Flanagan said.

The government has fulfilled its commitment in relation to assessing the new evidence. Accordingly, it does not believe any further investigation will provide the answers the committee is seeking.

‘I sympathise’

Flanagan said that he understood that the victims’ committee is disappointed with the outcome of the independent assessment process.

“I acknowledge that Judge McCartan’s report does not provide the outcome that the committee was seeking, in finding that no commission of investigation is warranted,” he said.

I would like, once again, to sympathise with the committee and all of the families affected by the Stardust fire.
I understand that each of you will never forget this terrible tragedy and will carry heartbreaking loss and memories with you for the rest of your lives.

Also speaking in the Dáil last night, Minister of State Finian McGrath offered his sympathies to the families affected.

“The Stardust fire is one of the greatest disasters in the history of this state and is seared into the collective members of all residents of the Northside. It had, and continues to have, a devastating impact on survivors, friends and family members of those killed and injured,” McGrath said.

McGrath acknowledged the decision made by McCartan, but noted the mention of Stardust on page 107 of the Programme for a Partnership Government, which reads: “Full regard will be had to any new evidence which emerges which would be likely to definitely establish the cause of the fire at Stardust.”

McGrath said: “As far as I’m concerned, and as long as the government is in place, the line contained in the Programme for a Partnership regarding [Stardust] still stands.

“I too sympathise with the committee, and all affected families, for the loss they have suffered as a result of the Stardust tragedy.

“I commend the committee for its search for answers and the support it has provided to the families concerns over a number of decades.”

Read: ‘No new inquiry warranted’: Stardust report finds cause of fire may never be known

More: A bank is trying to repossess the plush home of one of the Stardust nightclub owners

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