Jury In Stardust Inquests Find...


Jury In Stardust Inquests Finds Victims Of Fire Were Unlawfully Killed

Laura Donnelly
Laura Donnelly

03:06 18 Apr 2024

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The jurors in the Stardust Inquest have returned verdicts of 'unlawful killing' for all victims.

In the early hours of Valentine's Day 1981, 800 people attended the Stardust Ballroom in Artane when a fire broke out.

48 young people, aged between 16 and 27, all died from smoke inhalation, fire fumes and burns.

The jury says the fire started in the hot press in the dispense bar and was due to an electrical fault.

Verdicts were announced this afternoon as families and friends of those who died gathered at the Dublin Coroner's Court.

It was a moment 43 years in the making.

Speaking after the verdict, Antoinette Keegan, who survived the fire but lost two of her sisters, said families should have received justice sooner: "It's a day that I've waited a long, long time for.

"All the families have waited a long, long time for this; to hear it in the court, unlawful killing, it's huge day for the 48 victims.

"Their right to life was taken away and now they have their identity back."

The jurors had five possible verdicts open to them which were accidental death, death by misadventure, unlawful killing, an open verdict or a narrative verdict.

These were the longest inquests in the history of the State.


Taoiseach Simon Harris says: "The Stardust tragedy was one of the darkest moments in our history, a heart-breaking tragedy because of the lives that were lost, the families that were changed forever, and the long, drawn-out struggle for justice that followed.

"Today we remember the 48 people who lost their lives, all those who were injured, and all those whose lives were marked forever by the tragedy.

"For over four decades, the families of the victims have carried the weight of this tragedy with unwavering strength and dignity. Their relentless pursuit of truth and accountability, their profound commitment to justice, even in the face of overwhelming challenges and setbacks, was not only a fight for their loved ones but a campaign to ensure that such a disaster never happens again.

"Their courageous campaign demands our respect and our support . They never stopped searching for answers, for justice, and for some form of peace. We best honour all those who died by ensuring that the voices of their loved ones are heard and acted upon.

"The Government will consider this verdict in full and the recommendations of the jury. I want to acknowledge and thank the coroner, and her team and the jurors.

"48 young people never came home that night, but as Taoiseach I want to say this to their families; You never gave up on justice for them, you never let Ireland forget about them. They were never alone, and our country owes you a great debt for that."

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