Backer of Stardust site pub rejects reopening claims

ONE of the financial backers of a newly refurbished pub that was picketed by relatives of the Stardust victims yesterday insisted it was never intended to have the premises’ reopening night on the anniversary of the tragedy.

Families who lost loved ones in the fire demonstrated at the site on Tuesday in protest at the venue which, it was understood locally, was due to reopen 25 years to the day after the disaster claimed 48 young lives.

Relatives expressed dismay and anger at the insensitivity of the plans, especially as the pub reverts back to being called Silver Swan - the name of the original pub that operated as part of the Stardust complex at the time of the fire.

The name was registered with the Companies Office to Dublin-based Jason Gamble. Yesterday he said the new premises had not been scheduled to open on February 14.

“That was never the plan and was a rumour built up by the media. It was just media hype.”

He referred further questions to the owners of the property, the Butterly family, who owned and operated the Stardust complex and control the adjoining Butterly Business Park. Asked when the Silver Swan would now open, Mr Gamble said: “I haven’t got a clue.”

A staff member at Butterly Business Park said the Butterly family were not available to talk about the new premises. They confirmed the pub had been leased out but would not say to who.

Relatives have vowed to mount further pickets at the Silver Swan to ensure it does not re-open. They believe no part of the complex should ever have been allowed to be used for public entertainment again.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that almost half of all viewers who watched prime-time television last Sunday and Monday night tuned into to the two-part RTÉ drama recreating the disaster and its aftermath.

An average of 672,000 people saw each hour-long episode of the dramatisation which ran into controversy after some relatives complained they had not been warned the programme was being made or consulted about its contents.

A preview screening had to be arranged for family members and, at relatives’ requests, the credits were amended to acknowledge all the victims at the start, while Stardust survivor Jimmy Fitzpatrick was recorded reading out the names of the dead at the end.

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