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01/25/2017 12:00:00 AM


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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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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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Deputy Brendan Ryan

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Deputy Brendan Ryan

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Brendan Ryan

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03/05/2018 10:36:09 AM

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Snippet Contents:

I congratulate Deputy Thomas P. Broughan and the Independents 4 Change group for bringing forward this motion and the Deputy's comprehensive presentation of the case for the motion tonight. Nobody could add to that in any serious way. The Stardust tragedy is a sorrowful part of our nation's history and anybody who lived in Ireland in February 1981 will never forget that time when all those innocent lives were lost. As representatives in this House, many of us have contributed to debates and asked questions seeking truth and justice over many years.
In July 2009 I spoke in the Seanad following the release of the Coffey report earlier that year or at the back end of the previous year. On that night I welcomed the motion and described the Coffey report as a vindication of the valiant efforts of the 28-year campaign by the Stardust families, relatives and victims group. Unfortunately, like many representatives speaking in that debate, I did not have the full facts of the findings at my disposal. We found out subsequently, on foot of a freedom of information request from the committee for the families, that a line in the Coffey report accepting "that a new inquiry is necessary if it is the only way of placing on the public record a finding that is based on evidence" was deleted. This was presented by the Fianna Fáil Government of the day.
If the omitted sentence had been included, it would have led to an entirely different debate back in 2009 and it certainly would have led to parties and individual Deputies seeking different outcomes from those called for in 2009. This omission from the Coffey report stands independent of any other factors as a reason to ensure this motion should be passed. Unfortunately, it seems this Government, again with the support of Fianna Fáil, is resorting to its tried and tested response to any brave or tough decision, which is to kick the can down the road.
The Stardust tragedy will never be forgotten. For everybody who remembers that fateful night in 1981, just the one word brings back the horrific memories and tragic loss of life that was seen. Stardust is a one-word evocation of a national tragedy that we will never forget. Even generations of people born after 1981 know exactly what is being spoken about if the word "Stardust" is mentioned. It is etched in our collective conscience. The 48 young souls lost that night are the reasons we will never forget it. Never before or since have so many of our young people perished in such tragic and avoidable circumstances. What also keeps this tragedy in our thoughts and actions is the quest for truth and justice. It is the reason families have sustained their campaign over so many years. They are not at peace as the full truth is not yet known.
We need to make every effort to find the full truth of what happened that night and there is public support for a commission of investigation. I acknowledge the commitment to this cause from Deputy Broughan. I know from first-hand experience, when we were colleagues in the Labour Party, of his dedication to this cause over many years. In light of that I was slightly disappointed that Sinn Féin chose to raise the matter at Leaders' Questions today ahead of the planned debate this evening on Deputy Broughan's motion. I am also aware of efforts made by the families to meet officials in recent years. I know efforts were made by us in the last Government to facilitate these meetings and move the campaign forward. I am aware of how difficult it has been at times to keep the process on track, and tonight's debate is another important stage of that campaign.
The vote we take in the House tomorrow will have an impact on whether we move closer to examining all the available evidence in a full inquiry or whether further delays and obstacles will be put in place. With this motion there is an opportunity once and for all to deliver a full inquiry that will include all available evidence, most especially the new evidence provided by the committee. The people of north Dublin and the entire country wish to see justice done but it is the families still campaigning for justice that need the inquiry most of all. We support any avenue that will deliver the truth and we will work with all in the House, as well as the families and relatives of victims, to achieve this aim. The Labour Party will support the motion in the vote tomorrow and we will oppose any amendment.