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21.42 13 Oct 2020


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Funding has been announced for the inquest into the Stardust tragedy in the Budget.

The government has allocated €8m to the Department of Justice for the Dublin Coroner to carry out an inquest into the fire tragedy.

The pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of 48 people at a disco in Artane in 1981 is due to begin tomorrow.

The fresh inquest will then place next year in Dublin Castle.

The Stardust Victims Committee and relatives will gather outside Dublin City Coroner's Court tomorrow.

The families say they have spent decades waiting for the truth and tomorrow is the first step towards that.

The committee has asked that supporters who want to join them wear face coverings and respect social distancing.

Campaigner Antoinette Keegan says it has been a long road and that tomorrow will be "the first step in what is going to be a very difficult year" for the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

Commenting on today's budget funding towards the inquest she said: "It's welcome, but it's too little too late as far as we're concerned because we haven't got our mother here today.

"An inquest should have been done a long, long time ago and all this evidence had been presented to Taoiseachs and successive governments over the years.

"We have been pleading with the Coroner over the years for the inquest.

"It took for us to give the application to the Attorney General for him to make the decision.

"Our family is hurting very badly."

The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe delivered a €17.75bn budget today for 2021, the biggest budget in the history of the State.

A record €3bn was allocated to the Department of Justice, including additional funding of €10.2m to the Coroner Service, which includes the Stardust Inquest, amounting to a total allocation €13m.

Main image: Left to right: Families of the victims of the Stardust disaster, Pat Kennedy (picture of daughter Marie), Bride McDermott (William, Marcella, George) Eugene Kelly, Betty Bisset (daughter Carol perished), Antoinette and Christine Keegan (Mary and Martina) and Gertie Barrett (son Michael) outside Government Buildings in Dublin in 2009. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images

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