1982 Anatomy of a year




The Stardust tribunal report is published. It concludes that the fire at the disco in Artane, Dublin, which killed 48 people and injured 120, was probably caused deliberately and it severely criticises the club’s owners. It also criticises Dublin Corporation and the Department of the Environment.

Eight soldiers are killed by IRA bombs in London. The next day the Irish ambassador in Britain, Eamonn Kennedy, is told by Douglas Hurd, minister of state for Northern Ireland, that Britain considers itself under no obligation to consult the Irish government on matters concerning the North.

Some 80,000 fans turn up for the Rolling Stones concert at Slane Castle.

Bridie Gargan, a nurse, is badly beaten while sunbathing in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. She later dies. Three days later Donal Dunne, a Co Offaly farmer, is found murdered. (In January 1983, Malcolm Macarthur was sentenced to life imprisonment for Ms Gargan’s murder.)

Top of the charts: Happy Talk (Captain Sensible) and Fame (Irene Cara)


Mother Teresa of Calcutta addresses an anti-abortion meeting in the National Stadium, Dublin, organised by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child.

Malcolm Macarthur is arrested in the home of the attorney general Patrick Connolly and is later charged with the murders of Bridie Gargan and Donal Dunne. The attorney general resigns three days later, saying he has to have regard to the constitutional position of the office and the embarrassment caused to the government, even though his involvement was entirely innocent.

The Frank Sherwin bridge, named after a Dublin politician, over the Liffey near Heuston rail station, is formally opened.

Top of the charts: Come on Eileen (Dexys Midnight Runners)


Princess Grace of Monaco dies following a car crash. President Hillery heads the Irish delegation to the funeral four days later.

Phoenix Park racecourse is bought by a consortium headed by trainer Vincent O’Brien.

It had been owned by Patrick Gallagher, whose group of property companies had been put into receivership in May 1982.

Commander Michael Nestor is killed near Beirut, Lebanon. He was among 40 UN observers who went into the Beirut area after the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian refugees.

He and three other unarmed soldiers are killed by a mine.

The RUC’s special branch arrest James McGovern, a state witness in an assault case against the brother-in-law of the minister for justice Seán Doherty, just hours before the case is due to be heard in the district court in Dowra, Co Cavan.

The case against Garda Thomas Nangle is dismissed because Mr McGovern failed to appear in court.

The “Dowra affair” leads to further criticism of the government.

In a famous All-Ireland football final, Offaly deny Kerry a five-in-a-row with a goal in the dying seconds.

Substitute Seamus Darby caught a “high, lobbing, dropping ball” – in the words of Michael O’Hehir – and in his first kick of the game shot over the goalkeeper to snatch victory by 1-15 to 0-17.

Top of the charts: Eye of the Tiger (Survivor). The song was imortalised as the theme to Rocky III, starring Sylvester Stallone.