Finally an opportunity to give some peace and justice to the Stardust families

Sean Crowe

TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022 presents a real chance to start undoing the pain and to right the wrongs that official Ireland imposed on the families and loved ones of the victims of the Stardust tragedy in 1981.
Speaking in the Dáil recently, Teachta Crowe said: “I was head of Sinn Féin Youth in 1981. For a whole generation, particularly in Dublin, who at that time were teenagers or in our early 20s, the fire in the Stardust complex changed us forever. Forty-eight people died and 214 were injured on that fateful St. Valentine’s night. Now, 41 years later, the families who fought tirelessly for answers have still not got the full truth about how their loved ones died.
“The fire on St. Valentine’s night 1981 changed many of us from that generation; an innocence was lost. We never felt quite the same or relaxed in crowded halls or rooms after that. I remember being in a club in Galway years later and becoming increasingly uncomfortable. A group of Dublin friends all agreed afterwards that they felt the same. Collectively, without any discussion, we left the place and on the way out we saw, again, a lock and chain on the fire exit door we had unconsciously passed on the way in.
“The original inquest into the fire was held just a year after the blaze when very little was known about the events of that night. I remember some of the appalling coverage in the media and how it described young people who were trying to save people that night. For anyone who wants to look back on that period, the way they were described was absolutely appalling. They were described as robbers. They were young people who were desperately trying to save their friends and they were vilified in the official media. I got to know many of those young people.
“Rather than providing rational answers, the original inquiry only raised more questions about the totally inadequate way in which the tragedy was investigated and dealt with by the institutions of the State. In the 41 years since, much more detail and new evidence have come to light. The Stardust victims and relatives deserve some semblance of truth and justice. The families of the 48 people who died in the Stardust fire in Artane and the hundreds who were injured, many of whom received life-changing injuries, including third-degree burns, never stopped campaigning for a proper and in-depth inquest into the tragedy.
“I have met many of the Stardust families over the decades. I have seen their highs and experienced their lows. I have always been humbled by their relentlessness, determination, courage and passion for justice. Today, I am conscious that many of the parents and siblings of the young people who died have passed away without the necessary answers they fought for to their questions about what caused the fire and who was ultimately responsible for their loved ones being caught in that fire trap.
“Like others, I commend my Sinn Féin colleague Denise Mitchell TD and I also commend Senator Boylan on her tireless work and advocacy on behalf of the families, which included a very successful postcard campaign around the issue. Senator Boylan also brought a Bill to the Seanad earlier this year and sought to ensure that the jury would be selected in the same manner as a jury in a criminal case.
“The original Keane inquiry into the Stardust fire claimed it was probable arson. That finding was overturned in 2009 as a result of the independent investigation. This led to a correction of the public record, which exonerated all those present in the Stardust nightclub from any blame. This was important but it was not and cannot be where the journey for truth into what happened that night ends.
“Knowing that the Stardust inquest will be held before a jury which will be independently selected will be a huge relief to the families and their supporters. The families and friends of the 48 young people who never came home have a right to the full truth about what happened on that awful night.
“It was a tragedy that haunted a generation of teenagers who are now near pension age. It is said that justice delayed is justice denied, and I dearly hope this is an opportunity for the families to get some of the answers they seek. There have been too many false dawns for the Stardust families. Perhaps today we have a chance to start undoing the pain and to right the wrongs that official Ireland imposed on these families and their loved ones.”

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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