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01/25/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Haughey, Seán

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Motions

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Establishment of Commission of Investigation into the Stardust Tragedy

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Motion [Private Members]

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Air Corps

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Defence

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issues relating to

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936

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Motions\Defence\Air Corps\issues relating to

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Motions\Establishment of Commission of Investigation into the Stardust Tragedy

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Establishment of Commission of Investigation into the Stardust Tragedy\Motion [Private Members]
Defence\Air Corps\issues relating to
Motions\Establishment of Commission of Investigation into the Stardust Tragedy
Motions\Defence\issues relating to\Air Corps

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Establishment of Commission of Investigation into the Stardust Tragedy

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Senator


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Witness


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Deputy Seán Haughey

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Deputy Seán Haughey

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SeanHaughey

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Seán Haughey

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03/05/2018 10:36:09 AM

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Snippet Contents:

I thank Deputy Thomas P. Broughan for raising this matter and his comprehensive review of the tragedy. The fire in the Stardust nightclub in 1981 was an horrific tragedy. The loss of life and widespread injuries caused by it stand as one of the greatest tragedies in modern Irish history. Of the 700 young people in attendance that night, 48 never came home and 128 were seriously injured. Devastated survivors and families, together with the local community, all struggled to come to terms with the scale of the disaster. I was 19 years old at the time of the fire and had attended various cabarets at the Stardust nightclub. I think of the tragedy every time I drive along the Kilmore Road and on Valentine's Day and every time I see or hear a reflection of the 1980s. I have no doubt that all those who were caught up in the tragedy think about it every day of their lives.
A tribunal of inquiry set up at the time made several recommendations and their implementation led to a complete transformation of fire safety and protection laws. The view was that everything should be done to ensure such a fire would never happen again. The finding that the cause of the fire was probably arson caused widespread hurt to the families affected. In 2008 Paul Coffey's report concluded that the finding that it had probably been caused by arson was merely hypothetical. Motions were passed in the Dáil and the Seanad to the effect that there was no evidence that the fire had been started deliberately and that the cause of the fire remained unknown. In addition, Mr. Coffey found that none of the victims of the fire, or persons present on the night, could be held responsible for it. He also found that the public interest would not be served by establishing a further inquiry. I have, however, read media reports which suggest previous drafts of his report had been watered down and that he might, in fact, have suggested there was a need for a new inquiry. I have no knowledge of this and think the matter needs to be fully explained by the Department of Justice and Equality.
As a local public representative since 1985, I have worked with the Stardust relatives and victims committee on several issues.