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Taoiseach to meet families of Stardust victims

Taoiseach Simon Harris is to meet the families of the victims of the Stardust fire.

The meeting comes ahead of an expected formal State apology next week.

On Thursday, a jury found that all 48 victims were unlawfully killed on 14 February 1981, and that the fire started in a hot press as a result of an electrical fault.

Following their 43-year battle for justice for their loved ones, members of the Stardust families said they now deserve a formal apology for the way in which the State handled the nightclub disaster in Artane in Dublin.

The Taoiseach invited the families to a meeting at Government Buildings this morning, an invitation which has been accepted.

Mr Harris, who said he wants to be in a position to issue an apology to them on behalf of the country, said he is first keen to hear directly from the families.

Read More:
Who were the 48 victims of the Stardust nightclub fire?
Timeline: How the Stardust fire unfolded in 1981
The evidence: What caused the Stardust tragedy?
Fight for justice: The long road to the Stardust inquests

It is expected the Taoiseach will confirm after the meeting that he will deliver a formal State apology in the Dáil on Tuesday during time set aside for statements on the inquest verdicts.

The families will also be meeting Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald this morning, whose party has said it will table a motion in the Dáil next week to call for a full State apology to the Stardust families and survivors.

A 12-person jury delivered the verdict of unlawful killing to a packed courtroom in the Pillar Room on the grounds of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin on Thursday afternoon.

The families in court cheered and applauded as the verdict was read out.

The jury found the fire started in the hot press in the main bar and was caused by an electrical fault.

That finding is in stark contrast to the original 1982 Keane Tribunal finding that the fire was “probably caused deliberately”. That conclusion, which was long contested by families of the victims, was struck from the record in 2009.

The inquests proceedings began last April following a sustained campaign by relatives.

It sat for over 100 days, and heard evidence from more than 300 witnesses, and the inquests have been the longest held in Ireland to date.

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