Ireland

Fresh Stardust inquests confirmed to take place in Dublin Castle early next year

FRESH INQUESTS INTO the 48 deaths at the 1981 Stardust fire are to set take place at Dublin Castle early next year, Dublin District Coroner’s Officer has confirmed. 

A dedicated website in relation to the new inquests has now been set up with the pre-inquest hearing due to commence in September. 

The Coroner’s Officer confirmed to TheJournal.ie that 46 families who lost loved ones in the fire have been contacted about the new inquests “with a view to holding the inquests early in 2021″. 

The Attorney General last year confirmed that fresh inquests will be held after the families made a formal application for a fresh investigation by way of an inquest last April. 

In the early hours of 14 February 1981, a devastating fire ripped through the Stardust fire in Artane, north Dublin. 48 people died, and over 200 were injured.

A subsequent Tribunal found that arson was the probable cause of the fire, despite no evidence that the fire had been started deliberately. No arsonist was ever apprehended.

After families renewed their fight to get justice for their loved ones from the early 2000s, a subsequent inquiry in 2009 recommended that arson be formally struck from the Dáil record and acknowledged it as not being the cause of the fire.

Retired judge Pat McCartan was then tasked in 2017 with examining whether there would be grounds to hold a new inquest into the fire. He ruled that a new inquiry was not warranted, saying there was no new evidence.

Families, however, believe they have strong evidence and had been calling for a fresh inquests to finally get onto the path to secure definitive answers on what happened to their loved ones.

Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan said today that the setting up of a dedicated website was “welcome news” that “will no doubt prove to be a very valuable tool as the inquest progresses.”

“I believe that it is the first time such a website has been created for an inquest,” she said.

“I am also pleased to see that Dublin Castle has been confirmed as the location for the inquest. 

“The Stardust Inquest will be the largest inquest in the history of the State and the families of those who died wanted a location that would be accessible and appropriate for such a significant undertaking.  I believe that Dublin Castle is a fitting choice of location.”

“I hope that the inquest itself can now get underway without delay.”

The news of these inquests comes just three weeks after the deaths of Stardust campaigner Christine Keegan who lost two daughters in the fire. 

Almost 40 YEARS on from the Stardust fire, survivors and families of the victims have finally gotten a step closer to getting the answers they seek about what happened to them and their loved ones that night.

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Over the course of six episodes in a special podcast series, TheJournal.ie looked through the story from the start to the current day.

We heard from survivors, first responders, journalists, and many others who have not forgotten what happened that night, almost four decades after 48 people went to a disco and never came home.

You can take a listen to all six episodes here.

With reporting by Sean Murray

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