Stardust group steps up campaign for justice on disaster's 30th anniversary


RELATIVES OF victims of the Stardust fire have vowed to step up their campaign to seek justice as they prepare to hold a candlelit vigil this evening to mark the 30th anniversary of the fire.

A total of 48 people died as a result of the nightclub blaze in Artane, Dublin, in the early hours of St Valentine’s Day, 1981.

A Mass was held at St Joseph’s Church in Coolock yesterday to remember the victims, and a wreath was laid at the Stardust memorial park.

Antoinette Keegan, who lost her sisters Martina and Mary in the disaster, said the relatives’ group would not give up their fight until a number of issues had been addressed.

She said the campaign would be stepped up this week, with the solicitor for the Stardust Victims’ Committee writing to several government departments regarding legal issues.

Ms Keegan said the victims were still waiting for a public apology leading from the original finding of a tribunal of inquiry, which concluded the cause was probable arson.

Two years ago, the Government corrected the public record to state there was no evidence the Stardust fire was started deliberately.

Relatives were also seeking a reopening of the inquests in the cases where verdicts had not been delivered. Meanwhile, the group is campaigning for a national commemoration day for the victims of the fire.

Ms Keegan said the group was also hopeful their case would be examined by the European Court of Human Rights.

“We’ve never stopped campaigning,” she said.

“We can’t let this go until we have closure. How could we?”

Last month, it emerged a decision by Dublin City Council to allow the construction of 178 apartments and houses and a hotel on the site of the nightclub had been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

The relatives, local residents and politicians had objected to the city council against the plans by Patrick Butterly Sons Limited, owners of the site, but the development was approved by the council in December.

* The candlelit vigil, which will also include prayers and music, will be held at the site of the fire at 8.30pm.