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Truth around Stardust finally revealed

The truth around the fatal fire at the Stardust nightclub has finally been revealed after being obstructed by successive governments, according to Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald.

She was speaking in the Dáil after Taoiseach Simon Harris delivered a State apology to the families of the victims of the fire.

48 people were killed when the blaze ripped through the nightclub in Artane in 1981. Last week, verdicts of unlawful killing were returned at inquests into their deaths.

Ms McDonald said that “at each and every turn the State abused its power to bully, intimidate, pressure and coerce heartbroken mothers, grieving fathers and devastated families”.

“The State placed so little or no value on the lives of 48 working class young people whose lives were snuffed out,” she said, and “that’s the cold, hard truth”.

“This travesty happened on the watch of successive governments”, but the families of the victims and survivors refused to give up, she said.

“You don’t mess with Dublin mas. You don’t mess with Dublin das,” Ms McDonald added.

“Justice was kept out of reach for those left to bear unimaginable loss,” Ms McDonald said this afternoon.

“And you, their families, brought the truth home for them. And now, let justice flow like a river,” she concluded to applause.

Earlier, Ms McDonald had said that the “big lie” that the fire was caused by arson became the “State’s official position”.

In 1982 the Keane Tribunal into the disaster found that the fire was “probably caused deliberately”. That finding was removed from the record in 2009 and the Stardust inquests heard how there was absolutely no evidence of arson.

‘Dark cloud hung over the community’

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North Denise Mitchell has said she remembered seeing the panic in her own father’s eyes when he was told about the fire and realised that some of his own nieces and nephews could have been at the nightclub.

“A dark cloud hung over our community, a dark cloud that hung for far too long,” she said.

She said the trauma is still felt to this day – both the trauma caused by the tragedy and by the way survivors and families were treated.

Ms Mitchell said the were treated as if they did not matter- “but they did matter and they do matter.”

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