Statement on behalf of Minister Finian McGrath TD

Dublin Bay North Constituency

My only thoughts today are with the families of the victims of the terrible Stardust tragedy that took place 36 years ago.

The tragedy was the biggest loss of life in a single incident in living memory in Ireland. Forty-eight people went out for a night of celebrations and never came home.

To the extended families of those 48 young people – and the many others who were injured and traumatised by the event – they are foremost in my mind today.

One of the commitments that was negotiated into the Programme for Government was to look seriously at any new evidence that may emerge which would be likely to definitely establish the cause of the Stardust fire.

On March 7 of this year, the Government established an assessment to evaluate new and updated evidence uncovered by the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee. With the agreement of the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee, retired Judge Pat McCartan was appointed to carry out this assessment.

Today, his full assessment has been presented to Cabinet and this concludes that no new enquiry is warranted.

This will come as a major disappointment to the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee, which has been working tirelessly for years to determine the cause of the fire.

In the assessment, Judge McCartan states that this grief must be compounded by the failure of anyone to explain the cause of the fire. ‘Due to the passing of time, it is much harder today to find such an explanation and this assessment must conclude that the cause of the fire may never be known.’

I would like to thank everyone involved for their input into this assessment, including members of the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee and also Geraldine Foy whose generosity of spirit led her to selflessly take on a huge amount of work researching on behalf of the families.

I feel for all the families today as I know that they will be disappointed with the outcome of this assessment. They have suffered a huge loss and their efforts over 36 years are a testament to their loved ones.