48 kids never came home from the Stardust nightclub in north Dublin on Valentine’s Day, 14th February 1981. I have posted before on the subject here and here. The bare facts are


  •  A fire broke out in the upper part of the building. It quickly spread to the main nightclub area, which was packed.
  • There was panic, those inside fled for the exits. Some of the fire exits were chained shut and padlocked. The lights failed.
  • 48 died, 214 were injured, some very badly.
  • A Public Enquiry found that arson was the probable cause. This enabled the building’s owners, the Butterlys, to claim compensation of 580,000 Irish pounds.
  • A further enquiry in 2009 ruled that there was no evidence of arson. (No repayment of compensation of course.)
  • Despite the original enquiry finding clear evidence of ‘recklessly dangerous practices’ against the operators of the nightclub, no one has ever been charged with any offence.
  • The Butterlys have brazened it out to this day, re-launching their business on the site with never the hint of an apology or regret.
  • In recent times much more evidence has been gathered that, if accepted, would prove beyond doubt that the fire was the result of an electrical fault in the roof space. And who is responsible for ensuring electrical safety?

Now, after more than 38 years of campaigning, the Attorney General has ruled that fresh inquests into the 48 deaths will be held.

Will the new inquest finally see justice done, as with the Hillsborough tragedy?


Christy Moore’s 1985 song for which he was found guilty of contempt of court. The lyrics are still libellous in Ireland.

Ray Heffernan’s beautiful song of remembrance.