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Ireland Families of Stardust fire disaster victims say they are 'going nowhere' until they get justice

22:50  26 september  2019
22:50  26 september  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The families of the victims and survivors fought in the courts for compensation, accountability, and, in their eyes, justice . The owners, the Butterly family In 2009, four relatives of those who had died in the fire held a sit-in in a security hut at Government Buildings. They were asking the government to

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a group of people posing for a photo: Pictured is Antoinette Keegan and her mother Christine nd Eugene Kelly outside Buswells Hotel in Dublin today. Antoinette and Christine are holding pictures of Antoinette's sisters who perished in the fire, Martina (16) and Mary (19). © Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie Pictured is Antoinette Keegan and her mother Christine nd Eugene Kelly outside Buswells Hotel in Dublin today. Antoinette and Christine are holding pictures of Antoinette's sisters who perished in the fire, Martina (16) and Mary (19).

The families of the victims of the Stardust disaster say they are "going nowhere" until they finally get justice for their loved ones.

The fire, which broke out in the Stardust nightclub in Artane on Valentine's night 1981, claimed the lives of 48 young people.

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The families have campaigned for almost 40 years for a new inquest into the cause of the blaze.

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Attorney General Seamus Woulfe announced last night that he was ordering a fresh inquest into the tragedy because the original inquest failed to "sufficiently consider those of the surrounding circumstances that concern the cause or causes of the fire".

Lynn Boylan et al. taking a selfie: Pictured is Antoinette Keegan with Lynn Boylan at a press conference at Buswells Hotel in Dublin today. © Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie Pictured is Antoinette Keegan with Lynn Boylan at a press conference at Buswells Hotel in Dublin today.

Antoinette Keegan, who lost her sisters Martina and Mary in the fire, said the announcement of the new inquiry was a "victory" for the victims.

Tearfully addressing a press conference at Buswell's Hotel this morning, she said: "My father set up the Stardust Truth and Justice Committee in 1985 and he fought until his deathbed for justice for the living and the dead.

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"I think today is a victory for the dead. The 48 that perished. They have helped us, they have been guiding us, they have walked every step that we walked.

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"They helped us to get where we are today and we will keep fighting for the 48. They deserve justice and they deserve truth."

A tribunal held in 1982 and chaired by Justice Ronan Keane found the cause of the fire was "probably arson".

The families disputed disputed this conclusion and in 2009, an independent examination into the tribunal found there was no evidence to support Justice Keane's conclusion.

In 2017, a report from retired Judge Pat McCartan found no new inquiry into the fire was warranted.

The families have rejected Judge McCartan's findings, leading to them collecting the signatures demanding a fresh inquest.

Former MEP Lynn Boylan was instrumental in the campaign to collect signatures.

a group of people posing for the camera: Pictured (L to R) Bridget McDermott who lost her three children William, Marcella and George in the stardust fire with June McDermott in Buswells Hotel in Dublin today. End. © Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie Pictured (L to R) Bridget McDermott who lost her three children William, Marcella and George in the stardust fire with June McDermott in Buswells Hotel in Dublin today. End.

She claimed a "class element" was why the families have had to wait so long to find out what happened to their loved ones that night.

She said: Lynn: "I think anybody who is familiar with the Stardust and remembers it will know that there's a class element to this, exactly the same as in Hillsborough in that these were working class kids from a working class community and their lives were not worth as much as kids who were born on the other side of the tracks.

"That's why the level of arson was ruled against them as well, to tar a whole community that they were responsible for their loved ones deaths.

"I don't think anybody would disagree that if had happened in another part of Dublin we wouldn't be sitting here today."

Eugene Kelly, who lost his brother Robert in the blaze, vowed: "We may be from a working class area but we have strength, we have drive and we're going nowhere until we get justice."

Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law who acts for the families, paid tribute to their tenacity in fighting for the new inquiry.

He said: "Today is a testament to that effort and the effort of the families who continued despite the endless obstacles to campaign for truth and justice.

"Over the years the families unfortunately have been spectators in their fight for justice but today they enter the ring in their own fight and from this day onwards they will now be in control of their fight for justice and their fight for the truth.

"It should not take this long to get to the truth of what happened. This is Ireland's greatest atrocity. It can never be acceptable, and it isn't acceptable, that the events of that night go unanswered and unaddressed."

No date has yet been set for the new inquiry, which is set to be the biggest inquest ever seen on the island of Ireland.

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