Mother of Stardust victim thanks people of Ireland 'for never giving up'

Mother of Stardust victim thanks people of Ireland 'for never giving up'

Update: The mother of one of the Stardust victims has expressed her thanks to the people of Ireland “for never giving up” in their support of families and their ongoing appeal for a new inquest.

“I want to thank the people of Ireland who have stayed with us and who have prayed with us and have never given up,” Gertrude Barrett told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Her 17-year-old son Michael was one of the 48 victims of the 1981 Stardust fire tragedy.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General has confirmed that new inquests will be held following a request last April from the families of the victims who have continued to campaign for answers as to the cause of the St Valentine's Day tragedy.

The Attorney General, Seamus Woulfe said he is satisfied that the holding of fresh inquests is, on balance, in the public interest and in the interests of justice.

Ms Barrett said she wanted the public and the State to know that no body was going to tell her what was going to be done about her son.

Even after 38 years no words could express her pain, she said. Her son’s remains had been returned to her in a body bag bearing the number 38. “They all lost their identity," she said.

“Michael was mine and he was real. He didn’t come into the world as a number.

“When I was given my body bag after four days in the morgue I was told to get back to my life.”

Ms Barrett said she had heard about the new inquest on a radio news bulletin. “I froze in time, it was like it zapped me back all those years. I didn’t even cry, I couldn’t put my feelings into words.”

An appeal by former MEP Lynn Boylan, who had campaigned for the fresh inquest, for respect for the privacy of the families resonated with Ms Barrett who said that for many years she had been described as being ‘a Stardust family.’

A memorial for the victims of the Stardust disaster.
A memorial for the victims of the Stardust disaster.

“That’s what we became.”

Earlier: TD hopes new Stardust inquest will bring closure for victims' families

A North Dublin TD says he is hopeful a fresh inquest into the Stardust disaster will provide closure for the victims families.

48 people died in a fire at the Stardust nightclub in Artane on Valentine's Day in 1981, 200 others were injured.

In granting the inquiry, the Attorney General pointed to a lack of clarity around how the deaths happened in the original investigations.

The families of the victims, who have long been campaigning for a fresh inquest, are due to speak later this morning.

Independent TD Tommy Boughan said he hopes it can give them closure.

He said: "There's so much evidence that does need to be recorded and I'm sure the coroner conducting the new inquest will ensure that it comes into the public domain and that therefore the inquest will be in a position to get justice, and indeed closure.

"I mean this campaign has been going on now for almost 40 years, it's been a long, long road."

- Additional reporting by Digital Desk

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