Learning from Stardust

Other failings must be addressed

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

A chara, – Like most, I welcome the recent findings of the Stardust inquest. Taoiseach Simon Harris is right to apologise but this should not be empty rhetoric. Successive governments, including his, have provided little support for those who survive burn injury, or who have been affected by it.

The Taoiseach needs to reflect on the actions he and his Government can, and should take, to support patients, survivors and their families.

The pain and loss of those affected by the Stardust tragedy must be acknowledged, and will never go away. Those of us who are involved in burn care realise the tremendous strength of character and dignity of those affected by burn injury. But their pain and loss is made worse by the lack of services available.

Mr Harris and his Government would do well to reflect on how little they have done to address the real needs of those affected by burn injury, and provide services for burn survivors and their families.


To be meaningful, the Taoiseach’s apology must acknowledge his own failings in healthcare. – Le meas,


Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Director of the National Burns Unit

St James’s Hospital Dublin,

Clinical Professor in Surgery, Trinity College Dublin

Sir, – I followed the Stardust enquiry from the beginning, when proceedings began on April 25th, 2023.

A year later we have an “unlawful killing” verdict. There is not a living person in Ireland who does not feel heartfelt empathy to all involved.

May I humbly suggest that one day be selected in Easter week every year to commemorate every tragic death that has occurred in our country. This day would be dedicated to all family tragedies such as the Stardust fire, suicides, missing persons, cot deaths – the list would be long.

However, those left behind would know that one day a year these personal tragedies would be remembered. This could be a church service, a candlelight ceremony or some form of commemoration.

A remembrance event would be a wholesome and healthy conclusion to the tragic Stardust saga but could also help other citizens of Ireland. It could acknowledge the history of deep-felt hurt in a respectful and permanent way and celebrate the survival and optimism of the families left behind. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – It is right and fitting that the State has apologised for its failings in the handling of the Stardust enquiries.

However, it is easy for the current generation of politicians to apologise for the actions of their predecessors.

If they are truly sincere, they should contemplate their performance, for example in the lack of provision for children who need therapy for autism or operations for scoliosis, so that the next generation of politicians don’t have to apologise for their failings. – Yours etc,



Co Limerick.