Stardust families to get answer today on new inquiry

The families of the Stardust tragedy victims are to learn tomorrow if the Government will open up a fresh inquiry into what happened.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is to bring a memorandum for discussion to Cabinet but the families will be presented with copies of the report immediately afterwards.

The fire claimed the lives of 48 people in Artane in 1981, and families of the victims have been calling for “new and updated evidence” to be reviewed.

A report into the new evidence has been conducted by retired Judge Pat McCartan and, based on his report, a memorandum is being brought to Government “under the arm” tomorrow.

A spokesman for the Department for Justice confirmed the Stardust matter will be “considered” by Cabinet ministers at their weekly meeting.

Geraldine Foy, an investigator hired by the families of the victims, has suggested the blaze began from an electrical source and overheated, defective cables. In her 262-page report she detailed crucial testimony from witnesses who claimed the flames came down from the ceiling.

Junior Minister Finian McGrath and local councillor Damien O’Farrell had lobbied hard in order to have an independent judge appointed to adjudicate whether a fresh inquiry into the tragedy is needed.

Both are said to be “happy” that the commitments made by them have been delivered upon.

During the summer, it emerged that Judge McCartan had to demand the families present him with their evidence months after he was appointed to consider it.

It emerged that Judge McCartan wrote to the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee seeking a copy of the report which they say provides new evidence on how the fire was started.

However, the group is said to have refused to hand over the report until it receives €57,000 to cover research fees.

The group previously sought over €400,000 from the State to cover costs of their campaign.

Mr Justice McCartan is understood to have grown impatient with the group and asked to see the report on a number of occasions since he was appointed to chair the inquiry in March. He met with members of the victims’ committee and negotiated fees on their behalf with the department.

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