Shropshire Star

Sister of Stardust fire victim calls for official state apology

An inquest on Thursday found that the 48 young people who died in the Dublin blaze in 1981 were unlawfully killed.

Survivors, family members and supporters in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin

The Irish Government has been urged to “do the right thing” and issue an official state apology over the Stardust fire tragedy.

Some 48 young people died in the blaze that ripped through the nightclub in north Dublin in 1981.

On Thursday, following fresh inquests, a jury returned a verdict that they were unlawfully killed.

It comes after a previous finding in 1982 that the fire had been started deliberately.

Stardust nightclub fire inquest
Survivors, family members and supporters in the garden of remembrance in Dublin after a verdict of unlawful killing was returned by the jury in the Stardust fire inquests (Brian Lawless/PA)

But on Thursday a majority decision from the jury of seven women and five men found the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 1981, started due to an electrical fault in the hot press of the bar.

Families of the victims embraced one another after the verdict at the Pillar Room in Dublin city.

They are set to meet with Taoiseach Simon Harris.

Susan Behan, whose brother John Colgan was among those killed, said the Government should issue an official state apology.

“I feel it’s important for us because I think we were ignored. I really do feel we were ignored. I feel they were so disrespectful to us,” she told RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland Programme.

“We were left to our own devices, that shouldn’t have been the case, so now it shouldn’t be a big deal for them to turn around and say ‘we’re sorry, we got it wrong’, and apologise to us.

Stardust nightclub fire inquest
A man gestures as he leaves Dublin Coroner’s Court after the verdict was returned (Brian Lawless/PA)

“It’s the very least they could do and it shouldn’t take them a long time to know what to do.

“Do the right thing and give the public apology. We deserve it. Our loved ones deserve it.”

She said the verdict on Thursday “meant so much to finally hear our loved ones were unlawfully killed”.

“So many emotions. It’s been such a long time coming,” she said.

“When we heard it, it was just unreal. All those emotions, 43 years, then we finally, finally hear those words. It was just unbelievable. It really was.

“It’s very hard to put it into words to be honest because this morning I actually can’t believe it. So relieved that finally we have the justice we deserved.”

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