Opposition accuse Finian McGrath of 'turning his back' on victims' families after Stardust inquiry dropped

The Government has decided against establishing a new State inquiry into the Stardust tragedy because of a lack of new evidence, reports Irish Examiner Political Editor Daniel McConnell.

A judge-led assessment into the Stardust tragedy has found that no new inquiry is warranted into the fire that claimed the lives of 48 people in Artane, Dublin in 1981.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is to publish the report on the tragedy by retired Judge Pat McCartan in its entirety this afternoon.

The families of the victims of the fire in Artane been calling for a new inquiry for a long time and are said to be very unhappy at the decision.

Mr Flanagan brought a memorandum to Government this morning.

"I believe it is important that we acknowledge the independent report of Judge McCartan. I want to thank Judge McCartan for his endeavors," said Mr Flanagan.

“The Stardust Fire was undoubtedly one of the greatest tragedies in the history of this country and the Government considered it important to assess all available evidence, including any new material that may have come to light. Having carefully considered the two previous independent reports on the tragedy and considered all material made available to him, Judge McCartan concluded that no further new enquiry is warranted.

“I want to acknowledge the terrible pain and loss of the relatives of the victims and the fact that the report does not come to the conclusion that they would have wished for. This report by Judge McCartan is the third independent assessment of the available evidence and, while I understand that the pain of the relatives is compounded by the failure to discover the cause of the fire, this report concludes that no new enquiry is warranted.”

The latest report follows a Government decision last March to ask Judge McCartan to look at evidence uncovered by the families of the fire victims.

Minister Finian McGrath has been accused of “turning his back” on the families of the Stardust tragedy victims by “disappointed” Opposition TDs in the wake of the decision not to establish a new inquiry.

Independent TD for Dublin Bay North Tommy Broughan expressed his “disappointment” at the decision not to commission a new inquiry because of a lack of evidence.

He said: "Minister of State Finian McGrath, despite supporting the Stardust Relatives and Victims’ Committee during his political career, turned his back on the families who lost loved ones and instead supported the Government’s amendment to the motion which led to Judge McCartan reviewing evidence and making his recent recommendation that no new Commission is needed.

"Had Finian McGrath supported my motion in January, the Stardust Relatives and Victims’ Committee would have had the opportunity for closure but instead they were subjected to a Coffey Part 2 type examination."

Announcing the decision not to proceed, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “Having carefully considered the two previous independent reports on the tragedy and considered all material made available to him, Judge McCartan concluded that no further new enquiry is warranted.

"I want to acknowledge the terrible pain and loss of the relatives of the victims and the fact that the report does not come to the conclusion that they would have wished for.

"This report by Judge McCartan is the third independent assessment of the available evidence and, while I understand that the pain of the relatives is compounded by the failure to discover the cause of the fire, this report concludes that no new enquiry is warranted," he said.

Responding to the criticism, Mr McGrath said: “My only thoughts today are with the families of the victims of the terrible Stardust tragedy that took place 36 years ago.

"Today, his full assessment has been presented to Cabinet and this concludes that no new enquiry is warranted. This will come as a major disappointment to the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee, which has been working tirelessly for years to determine the cause of the fire.

"I feel for all the families today as I know that they will be disappointed with the outcome of this assessment. They have suffered a huge loss and their efforts over 36 years are a testament to their loved ones," Mr McGrath added.


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