Preliminary inquest hearings into the deaths of the 48 victims of the 1981 Stardust disaster opened yesterday. New inquests were ordered last year by then Attorney General Séamus Woulfe. In his letter to the coroner, Mr Woulfe said the “scale and horror of the tragedy was such that” the Stardust incident was “the greatest such disaster to have occurred in the history of the State.” His letter stated that, in his opinion, the original inquests, held in 1982, “there was insufficiency of inquiry as to how the deaths occurred.”
Recommending the new inquests, Mr Woulfe said that new hearings were both in the public interest and in the interest of justice.
Solicitor Darragh Mackin, representing 44 of the families of the victims said the new inquests would “draw a line in the sand on previous, failed investigations. Up until this point, the families, who have fought relentlessly for 39 years, have met with obstacle after obstacle, failed investigation after failed investigation.”
The fire at the Stardust Ballroom in Artane brought the lives of 48 young people, all from the surrounding North Dublin area, celebrating Valentine’s Night, to an end. Some families lost more than one of their children. The families have never given up their demands for a proper investigation into the cause of their loved ones’ deaths.