Commitment in Partnership Government Programme an insult to the victims and their families
The Stardust committee and families met over the weekend to discuss the latest denial by the Department of Justice that there is in fact new evidence into the 1981 fire disaster. The families have gathered significant amounts of evidence which conflict with the official findings on how the fire started and have repeatedly called on the government to look into this new evidence, believing as they do that the evidence they have compiled merits at the very least a new independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the fire.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was presented with this new evidence on the last day of the 31st Dail in February, her officials having previously received the same documentation but refusing to hand it over to the Minister, according to an official within the department. Spokesperson for the Stardust campaign, Antoinette Keegan, stated: ‘We believe that the Minister is refusing to recognise what we have presented to her and her officials as new evidence because it would call into question how her department has handled this case in the past. Despite both Enda Kenny promising my mother and the campaign that the “door would always be open to us” and Frances Fitzgerald herself assuring my mother and our campaign that she “understands our loss and will do everything to help”, we have been met with nothing but resistance from the Taoiseach down to the Minister for Justice and her officials within the Department of Justice.’
The new Partnership Government Programme negotiated by Fine Gael and several Independents, including Dublin Bay North Deputy Finian McGrath, and supported by Fianna Fail has a commitment on the Stardust tragedy, namely that “full regard will be had to any new evidence which emerges which would be likely to definitely establish the cause of the fire at Stardust”.
Ms. Keegan stated: ‘This commitment is quite unbelievable. Time and again we have made it quite clear that the new evidence we have compiled and presented to the Department of Justice merits at the very least a new commission of inquiry. It is very upsetting that an opportunity to have this demand secured in the new programme for government has been missed. They have the new evidence, they are just unwilling to uphold and vindicate our rights to truth and justice.’
Ms. Keegan concluded by stating: ‘The Minister can now apologise to the families and re-open the coroner’s inquest because they don’t hold a coroners certificate. The way things are now we would rather have the inquests re-opened and bring the truth to the public domain that way, but the Minister should immediately apologise to the families for her blatant lies.’