herald

Monday 21 August 2017

Government is 'failing Stardust blaze victims by not reviewing new evidence'

Antoinette Keegan
Antoinette Keegan

A survivor of the Stardust tragedy claims the Government has "failed" her two sisters who perished in the blaze.

Antoinette Keegan, who was 18 at the time of the 1981 fire, said the victims' committee has new evidence of where the fire started but are "constantly being ignored".

Her comments follow TD Tommy Broughan's renewed calls for a Commission of Investigation into the disaster that claimed 48 young lives.

Speaking to the Herald, Antoinette insisted the main source of the fire came from the roof and not the seating area, as currently documented.

"I was there when the whole building collapsed on top of us. It came down on top of us, not from the seating area," she said.

"We were all on the dance floor when I saw the smoke. I initially thought the DJ had let off some effect. The DJ then made an announcement saying a small fire had broken out and that everything is under control. Shortly afterwards he made another announcement telling everyone to make their way to the exits.

Unconscious

"As we got our coats and bags, the whole roof came crashing down on top of us.

"I remember saying, 'Oh God please help us' before falling unconscious. A young man managed to drag me out of the building, but unfortunately my two sisters weren't so lucky."

The families say they have further evidence since the Keane tribunal report of 2009, including flaws in the original map used by the tribunal and a 999 call made from a house near the club on the night, which was not recorded in the report.

"The Department of Justice have been told many times that two 999 calls were made that night informing them that there was a major fire on the roof and another small fire in the seating area," Antoinette said.

"We no longer have any faith in the Government because we have been stonewalled by them for so long. It's like they have failed everyone who lost their lives in this tragedy."

A Department of Justice spokesperson said: "The department is considering the Private Member's Motion published by Deputy Broughan ahead of next week's Dail debate."

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