Next month’s inquest into the Stardust tragedy has been postponed due to a row over legal fees.
In a statement released on social media earlier, the group ‘Justice for the Stardust 48’ said the families of the victims have now instructed their legal team to hold off until all outstanding issues have been resolved with the legal aid funding.
“The inquest for the 48 victims of the Stardust due to commence in October has now been postponed,” the group said.
“This is a direct result of the Department Of Justice reneging on their commitment to ensure our legal team is funded in accordance with the legal aid rates.
“Despite past promises, the legal aid board has to date refused to make any payment to our legal team for the work they have undertaken.
“Instead, and despite the previous past promises, the legal aid now seek to renege on the commitment that we would receive legal aid funding in the same way as other Inquests.
“The families of the Victims have now instructed our legal team to hold off, until all outstanding issues have been resolved with the legal aid funding and the historical costs between the Department of Justice and the legal aid board.
“It seems to be the trait of the Department of Justice for over 4 decades to systematically abuse us the families of the deceased victims.
“There was €8 million set aside from the Government Budget last year for the upcoming Inquests,” the group said.
Labour Party TD for Dublin Bay North Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the State must pay the legal fees of the families seeking justice for the 48 victims of the 1981 Stardust fire tragedy.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said the families’ pursuit of justice must not be stalled by unaffordable legal fees.
“Stardust was an event that scarred the Northside for a generation,” Deputy Ó Ríordáin said.
“It has been my long held belief that if this occurred in another part of the State, justice would have been reached much earlier.
“In recognition of the trauma that these families have experienced in the pursuit of justice, the State needs to pay for the legal fees associated with the inquest.
“Forty-eight young lives were lost in the Stardust nightclub that night, with some 215 injured. For many of the families affected, the heartbreak is still very real.
“The exorbitant cost of legal fees in the State is an issue that has been well played out. Given the sensitivities surrounding this tragedy, I am calling on the Government to take on the legal fees associated with the victims’ families pursuit of justice.
“For many years members of this campaign have been fighting to obtain the truth behind what caused the death of their loved ones.
“There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the tragedy and the Labour Party supports the work of those seeking justice for the victims.”