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Charlie Bird makes emotional appeal for justice for Stardust families in special video

‘I would like to make one plea that the Stardust relatives are taken out of the agony and distress they have been going through for over 40 years’

Charlie Bird on Stardust inquest

Mick Carolan and Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World Video Team

Charlie Bird has made an emotional appeal for justice for the Stardust families in a video that was specially recorded for them.

In the footage the former RTE reporter tells through his voice bank how he had listened over the last year “of the dreadful pain that they have gone through as they wait for the inquest to start”.

With a lit candle bearing the number of the victims of the horrific 1981 blaze beside him, he begins: “When the inquest was first announced we all thought that was going to be the breakthrough that the families had been waiting almost 40 years for.

“And more foot dragging started again. I want to join them now and the other relatives in pleading for the justice system and the coroner to try and move things on and get the inquest up and running soon as possible.”

He adds: “I would like to make one plea that the Stardust relatives are taken out of the agony and distress they have been going through for over 40 years.

“These amazing people (deserve) the justice that they are entitled to, so let everyone in the country extend the hand and heart of friendship to the relatives and let the judicial system finally give them the justice they're entitled to”

The message was released by the families as they continue to call for the inquest into the St Valentines Fire to begins as a “matter of urgency”.

A planned protest was called off this week after the Coroner’s Court set a date of November 23 for the latest hearing into the nightclub disaster.

Speaking previously to, Stardust campaigner and survivor Antoinette Keegan demanded that the coroner now set a date for the inquest.

“We need the coroner to give us a start date now,” she said. “We’ve waited long enough.

“It’s actually a disgrace. This is the biggest inquest in the history of the State but at this rate it’s also going to be the longest.

“Why delay any longer? We’re ready to move, our legal team is ready, everyone is ready but we need a start date and the sooner the better, so we can all move on.

“It’s going to be horrendous,” Antoinette added. “We're going to hear things that we've never heard before (from the evidence) but it needs to be done.

“The Attorney General ordered the new inquest in 2019 and here we are going towards 2023 and not one single hearing has taken place.”

She was speaking after a decision by the High Court to reject a challenge by former Stardust manager Eamon Butterly to the new inquest into the deaths of 48 people at the Dublin nightclub more than 41 years ago.

He and his family owned the club at the time the fire broke out in the early hours of Valentine's Day 1981.

Mr Butterly wanted the court to rule that a verdict of unlawful killing was not open to the jury at the inquest and that the coroner should give the jury this direction at the outset.

However, Mr Justice Charles Meenan found a verdict of unlawful killing was permitted where no person was identified or identifiable as being responsible for the killing.

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