No new Stardust inquiry following third assessment
Antoinette Keegan who survived Stardust fire but lost both of her sisters Martina (16) and Mary (19)

08 Nov 2017 / Stardust Print

Judge critical of 'rambling' Stardust dossier

There will be no new inquiry into the Stardust Fire, Judge Pat McCartan ruled on 7 November 2017, after examining evidence presented to him by the Stardust Relatives and Victims Committee.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan thanked retired Judge McCartan for his work saying “The judge was nominated by the relatives as a person they trusted and I am grateful to him for his willingness to undertake this important public service. 

'Greatest tragedies'

“The Stardust Fire was undoubtedly one of the greatest tragedies in the history of this country and the government considered it important to assess all available evidence, including any new material that may have come to light.

"Having carefully considered the two previous independent reports on the tragedy and considered all material made available to him, Judge McCartan concluded that no further new enquiry is warranted,” the Minister said.

“This report by Judge McCartan is the third independent assessment of the available evidence and, while I understand that the pain of the relatives is compounded by the failure to discover the cause of the fire, this report concludes that no new enquiry is warranted,” he said.

Judge Pat McCartan was critical of the material presented to him and described it as “rambling, argumentative, disorganised and at times incoherent”.

A total of 48 people died and 214 were injured in the fire at the Stardust nightclub in Artane, north Dublin on the night of 14 February, 1981.

A 1982 tribunal under Justice Ronan Keane said arson was the ‘probable cause’ of the fire but this conclusion was rejected by the families.


Judge McCartan said that the statement about new evidence did not appear until page 358 of the document he was given.

“Even then it was very difficult to understand what items of evidence this assessment was being asked to examine,” he commented.

The material merely proposed a theory, Judge McCartan said, while only fresh evidence would warrant a new inquiry.

Gazette Desk is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland