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Coroner summing up evidence to jury at Stardust inquests

The coroner at the Stardust inquests has begun her summary of the evidence as the almost year-long proceedings edge closer to a conclusion.

It is expected that Dr Myra Cullinane will address the jury for a number of days, after which it will retire to deliberate on a verdict.

At the start of today’s proceedings, the coroner said there has been 95 days of witness hearings and evidence from over 370 witnesses.

She said the evidence had been vast and often distressing and the jury had displayed a great commitment.

The jury’s role, Dr Cullinane said, is the most important one at the inquests and “we’ve now reached a point where that role crystallises”, adding that the jurors were the arbiters of the facts.

The coroner also said she would be instructing them on matters of law, what findings they are entitled to make and what verdicts are available to be returned.

The fresh inquests began last April after a lengthy campaign by relatives.

In 2019, then attorney general Seamus Woulfe directed that they be held, saying there had been an insufficiency of inquiry at the original 1982 inquests into how the deaths occurred.

The Dublin District Coroner’s Court hearings are being held in the Pillar Room on the grounds of the Rotunda Hospital.

Last week, legal teams representing the families of the victims and Dublin City Council (formerly Dublin Corporation) made their closing submissions to the jury.

A number of the families are in court today.

Forty-eight young people, aged between 16 and 27, lost their lives after a fire broke out at the Stardust nightclub in Artane in the early hours of St Valentine’s Day 43 years ago.

Most of the victims were from the surrounding area.

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