Renewed calls for Stardust inquest as victim's relatives want answers

Relatives of the victims of the Stardust disaster have renewed calls for an inquest into the nightclub fire which killed 48 people.

Renewed calls for Stardust inquest as victim's relatives want answers

Relatives of the victims of the Stardust disaster have renewed calls for an inquest into the nightclub fire which killed 48 people.

Families and activists met in Dublin yesterday and outlined their plan to appeal to the attorney general to use his discretion to open an inquest into the deaths.

Lisa Lawlor was just two years old when the fire claimed the lives of both her parents on February 14, 1981.

“I went through intensive counselling for years, I was afraid of what I would hear and see if I joined the campaign,” said Ms Lawlor.

I wasn’t strong enough, I wanted to ignore it, and I can’t ignore it anymore.

“We need closure, I can’t live with not knowing.”

Ms Lawlor is joining what is being called the ‘postcard and public campaign’ to get a new inquest into the fire that broke out in the early hours of the morning at the disco in Artane, Dublin in Dublin on St Valentine’s night.

Lawyers and the relatives plan to submit an application to attorney general Séamus Woulfe in the coming weeks which they claim includes fresh evidence.

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said there is huge momentum around the campaign.

The postcard campaign hopes to see 48,000 postcards signed in support of a new inquest, 1,000 for each victim of the Stardust fire.

Antoinette Keegan, who lost two sisters in the tragedy, claimed there is support among all political sides for an inquest, except from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

We have been waiting 37 years. We want truth and justice,” she said.

Ms Keegan said Finian McGrath, an Independent Alliance minister and TD for Dublin Bay North, had written to her in recent days saying he had asked the attorney general to review the case again.

Ms Keegan accused the minister of getting in to the Dáil “on the back” of Stardust.

Ms Lawlor said she wants an inquiry reopened into the deaths to get justice for her late mother and father.

Lawyer Darragh Mackin outlined how a portfolio of new documents would be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General in the coming weeks.

Families can’t get accountability — the first step is truth, the second is accountability,” he said.

“The attorney general has been put on notice that the application for a new inquest will be made. Whether to have a fresh inquest is entirely at his discretion.”

Mr Mackin added: “There has never been an effective investigation, and given the number of people involved, we say a new inquest is in the public interest.”

Forty-eight people died in the blaze which broke out in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, 1981 in the Artane nightclub in north Dublin. More than 200 people were also injured in the blaze.

A tribunal held after the fire, chaired by Justice Ronan Keane, was declared flawed by the victims’ families. He concluded the cause of the fire was probably arson.

However, in 2009, an independent examination into the tribunal concluded there was no evidence to support Justice Keane’s finding that the fire was started deliberately near the ballroom of the nightclub.

A report in 2017 did not recommend a further inquiry.

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