Govt refuse to confirm date for new Stardust inquiry, campaign group says

Govt refuse to confirm date for new Stardust inquiry, campaign group says
Christine Keegan (who lost her daughters Mary and Martina Keegan) during a press briefing to media where an application was handed into the Attorney General's Offices in Dublin's City centre asking for a new report into the Stardust tragedy. Picture: Collins Photos

The Stardust Justice Campaign say the government have refused to confirm the date of a new inquest into the tragedy.

One of the campaigns most prominent figures Christine Keegan died on Tuesday after almost 40 years of campaigning for an inquest into the fire.

Christine’s teenage daughters Mary and Martina and 46 other young people died in the tragedy. Her daughter Antoinette survived after weeks in hospital.

The popular nightclub in Artane, Dublin, was destroyed in a blaze on Valentine’s Day, 1981, in what is considered the worst fire disaster in the history of the state.

One of the most well-known campaigners Mrs Keegan was a key part of the campaign to have a fresh inquest granted into the cause of the blaze.

Although a fresh inquest was granted last year, the preparations have been put on pause due to COVID19.

The family have been contacted by various officials from the new government, including the Taoiseach’s private secretary and the Department of Justice.

The Taoiseach’s office have told the family his aide de camp will attend Mrs Keegan’s funeral on Saturday in his place.

Newly installed Minister for Justice Helen McEntee wrote to Christine’s daughter Antoinette Keegan on Wednesday expressing her sympathy, however stopped short of mentioning the inquest, in a letter seen by the Irish Examiner.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD arriving for the Dail sitting at the Convention Centre Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD arriving for the Dail sitting at the Convention Centre Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

The death of Mrs Keegan has put fresh pressure on the need to expedite the inquest which is likely to be the biggest in the history of the state.

Few of the parents of victims are still alive, and there are fears that more will die like Mrs Keegan without seeing justice for their children.

Antoinette Keegan has challenged a range of officials who contacted her in recent days over setting a date for the inquest to begin.

According to Ms Keegan, one official told her that “her solicitor knows everything,” which Ms Keegan disputes and say her legal representatives have been “kept in the dark,” while another official said he would “try and find out”.

Ms Keegan said: “This is typical of the abuse that my family have been subjected to over the years, even now, we’re burying my mother, and we don’t even have a date.

“They’re doing nothing.” Investigations into the fire showed that a number of escape routes from the dance hall were blocked as emergency doors were locked by chains. Concerns have also been raised about the investigation of the scene, which allowed politicians and media to walk through the building just hours later.

Despite findings of safety breaches, there were no prosecutions over the incident.

The Department of Justice has been repeatedly contacted by The Irish Examiner with no response.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.