Friday 22 November 2019

Stardust families to protest if site developers ignore memorial calls

The families of the Stardust victims have vowed to block any redevelopment at the site of the tragedy unless they are consulted about a memorial to the 48 young people who died there.

The 7.4-acre Butterly Business Park in Artane, which housed the former Stardust nightclub, is currently up for sale.

Forty eight people lost their lives and 214 were injured when fire tore through the nightclub during a St Valentine's Day Disco in 1981.

Speaking yesterday, Antoinette Keegan, whose sisters Mary and Martina perished in the blaze, said the families want a "fitting memorial" on the site.

She vowed to hold "massive" protests if the purchaser does not consult families about a memorial.

"Whoever is going to purchase this site, if they don't co-operate with us and they don't liaise with us, we'll have massive, massive protests down there. We'll stop them from doing anything.

"We'll have hundreds of people coming on because we have thousands supporting us. People will come in their droves and they'll block anything going up there, any demolition, anything.


"The families have to be kept in consultation at all times; they have to know what's going on. And if they don't agree, they don't agree and nothing can happen. Thirty eight years is a long time to wait for this."

Ms Keegan said she wants to see a museum detailing the history of the tragedy built on the site of the former nightclub, as well as a memorial garden with victims' names on display.

"We had to place our own memorial there on February 14 just gone. We had to get it made, just as a sign of love and hope to the 48 victims that they will never be forgotten and that's where the Stardust happened.

Antoinette Keegan
Antoinette Keegan

"Because as it is, at this moment in time, nobody knows where the Stardust happened. There's nothing down there to represent the biggest disaster in the history of the State.

"We're calling on people that are going to buy this... to come and talk to us families.

"We want a fitting memorial there for the 48 that were killed - just like 9/11, just like Hillsborough, just like Bloody Sunday," she added.

The owners of the site said: "Cairn Homes is in the process of selling Butterly Business Park. The company is conscious to the sensitivities of the location and is happy to meet and listen to the Stardust victims' families."

Eugene Kelly, whose brother Robert died in the blaze, said he wants the State to buy the site and "put a proper memorial on it".

The Butterly Business Park, on Kilmore Road, is currently listed for sale by agents Agnew Quinn.

In 2012, 10-year planning permission was granted for 178 dwelling units, plus a pharmacy, medical centre, hotel, memorial plaza and 546 parking spaces.

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