Intense stand-off within Government over new Stardust inquiry

The Government remained deeply divided last night as to whether a fresh inquiry into the 1981 Stardust fire tragedy should be established, ahead of a Dáil debate tomorrow.

Intense stand-off within Government over new Stardust inquiry

Intense negotiations, which continued late last night, failed to reach agreement ahead of this morning’s Cabinet meeting.

As revealed in the Irish Examiner last week, the Independent Alliance is backing junior minister Finian McGrath’s demands for a new inquiry, but Fine Gael and, in particular, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s department is opposed to it without new evidence.

Mr McGrath and victims’ families are adamant new evidence exists, but Department of Justice officials are not convinced.

Last night, Transport Minister Shane Ross was adamant that he and the other Alliance members backed Mr McGrath 100% in his demands for an inquiry.

Mr McGrath has long campaigned on behalf of the Stardust victims’ families and he told the Irish Examiner he must stand with them now.

The Department of Justice said the wording of a motion being brought by Independent TD Tommy Broughan “would be difficult to accept”, as it suggests there has been no contact with the victims’ families, which it said is not correct.

Government sources said that among the solutions being considered was a counter motion, or allowing Mr McGrath a free vote, as he is not bound by Cabinet collective decision-making.

However, these were deemed to be unworkable. Discussions are expected to continue today to resolve the stand-off in time for the debate tomorrow night.

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