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Home / News / Taoiseach to deliver Stardust State apology in the Dáíl

Taoiseach to deliver Stardust State apology in the Dáíl

Taoiseach Simon Harris will deliver a formal State apology to the families and to the victims of the Stardust fire tragedy in the Dáil this afternoon.

Many of the families are expected to watch from the Dáil public gallery as the apology is read out.

A total of 48 young people died in the Stardust fire in Artane, Co Dublin, in the early hours of 14 February 1981.

Today there will be acknowledgment in the Dáil of what harrowingly unfolded in the Stardust nightclub.

The long road to justice for all those who campaigned over the last 43 years will also be centre stage in this afternoon’s proceedings which will span four hours.

This morning Mr Harris will brief the Cabinet before he gives the State apology in the Dáil at 2pm.

The memorial to the Stardust victims in Artane

It follows ongoing contact between Mr Harris and the Stardust families in recent days after the jury at the Dublin City Coroner’s Court delivered a landmark verdict of unlawful killing last Thursday.

The Taoiseach will ask Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and other relevant ministers to ensure the jury’s recommendations are implemented.

The Cabinet will also hear that work will now begin on proposals to appropriately commemorate the Stardust tragedy.

The Taoiseach is expected to deliver the apology during the course of a 20 minute speech.

Work on the speech is likely to continue this morning and the Department of the Taoiseach remains in contact with solicitors representing the Stardust families.

Yesterday the Taoiseach visited the Stardust memorial in Artane with Antoinette Keegan, who survived the tragedy but lost two sisters in the fire.

The issue of redress is not set to be discussed at the Cabinet meeting this morning.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has withdrawn its motion on the Stardust tragedy which was due to be debated in the Dáil this evening.

“By tabling a motion in the Dáil, Sinn Féin sought to secure a State apology for the families of those who were unlawfully killed in the Stardust tragedy, as well as the survivors. That will now happen tomorrow. Accordingly, our motion will be withdrawn,” a party spokesperson said.

In February 2013, then Taoiseach Enda Kenny issued an apology on behalf of the Government in Dáil Éireann to women who were resident in Magdalene Laundries for hurt done to them and any stigma suffered by reason of their residence in those institutions.

In October 2019, then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar issued an apology in the Dáil on behalf of the State to the women and their loved ones affected by failings in the CervicalCheck screening programme. The apology came on foot of Dr Gabriel Scally’s scoping inquiry into CervicalCheck.

In January 2022, then Taoiseach and current Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin issued a formal apology for the hurt experienced by many former residents of mother and baby institutions and county homes.

He apologised for the profound generational wrong visited on Irish mothers and their children who ended up in a mother and baby home or a county home and for the shame and stigma which they were subjected to.

In June 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, a sincere apology was offered to those individuals affected by the criminalisation of homosexual acts in Ireland in an all-party motion in the Dáil.

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