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Encyclopedia > Stardust Disaster

The Stardust Disaster refers to a fatal fire which took place at the Stardust nightclub in Artane, Dublin, Republic of Ireland in the early hours of February 14, 1981. 841 people had attended the disco: 48 died and 214 were injured as a result of the fire. It has been suggested that flame be merged into this article or section. ... A nightclub (often shortened to club) is an entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark. ... Artane (Ard Aidhin in Irish) and also sometimes spelt Artaine, is a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. ... Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland, located near the midpoint of Irelands east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. ... February 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI in Roman) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents


The incident

The fire was first noticed inside the building at 1:41 am on the morning of Valentine's Day while the club was still full from the night before. It was believed to have been started by a slashed seat cover allowing a flame, possibly from a cigarette, to ignite the foam beneath. Paper decorations for the impending Valentine's Night celebrations also ignited, causing the entire building to catch fire. Valentines Day postcard, c. ... A cigarette will burn to ash on one end. ...


The attendees at both the disco, and a trade union function also in the building, had to make their escape. Some of the main fire exits were locked with padlocks and chains. Other fire exits simply had chains draped about the push bars. A large number of people attempted to escape through the men's toilets but the windows there had metal plates fixed on the inside and iron bars on the outside. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Aftermath

In total, 48 people, all young, died in the fire. The community which most of them came from, Artane, was devastated, with many people being in some way affected.


A tribunal of inquiry under Mr. Justice Ronan Keane concluded in November 1981 that the fire was probably caused by arson. This finding legally exonerated the owners from responsibility. However, the inquiry was damning in its criticism of their safety standards. A tribunal commonly refers to a judicial proceeding with two or more persons who act as judges. ... The Skyline Parkway Motel in Afton, Virginia after an arson fire on July 9, 2004. ...


The families of the victims and survivors fought in the courts for compensation, accountability, and, in their eyes, justice. The owners, the Butterly family, were nevertheless free to pursue their own claim for compensation against the city because of the arson finding and were eventually awarded IR£580,000.


Despite some legal recognition and financial compensation gained after a struggle which lasted five years, the relatives and victims are unable to close this chapter of their lives and there are regular calls to re-open the inquiry.


The aftermath led to a huge number of recommendations being made in relation to fire safety, and whilst some of these have been implemented, as of 2005, many have still yet to be adhered to. Comparisons were made to the Summerland disaster of 1973 in the Isle of Man and the lessons learned in that jurisdiction. Fire safety is a component of Building Safety. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Summerland Disaster occurred on the night of August 2, 1973. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ...


However, some basic rules, such as the provision of fire extinguishers and fire exits being left unblocked and obviously posted, which have been implemented, could probably have prevented any deaths if they had existed at the time. Fire extinguisher A fire extinguisher is a device used to put out a fire, often in an emergency situation. ... A fire escape is a fire exit that is external to a building. ...


They Never Came Home

In July 1985, Irish folk singer Christy Moore was found guilty of contempt of court after writing and releasing a song, entitled They Never Came Home, about the plight of the Stardust fire victims, seemingly damning the owners of the nightclub and the government. It contained the following lines: This article is about the year. ... Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the common people. ... Image:Cm. ... Contempt of court is a court ruling which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, deems an individual as holding contempt for the court, its process, and its invested powers. ...

In a matter of seconds confusion did reign.
The room was in darkness, fire exits were chained.

…and…

Hundreds of children are injured and maimed,
and all just because the fire exits were chained.

Because it appeared to imply that the obstruction of the exits was solely responsible for the deaths and injuries, the song was banned and removed from the Ordinary Man album it had appeared on. As the album had just been released, it had to be withdrawn from circulation and re-issued with Another Song is Born in its place. Early versions of this album are considered rare and collectable.


The lyrics of the song are still "banned" in Ireland as libelous. Christy Moore was prosecuted, although he has since been known to sing the song on occasion. Ironically, Moore remains, to this day, the only individual charged in relation to the Stardust tragedy. In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of making a false statement of fact that injures someones reputation. ...


2006 television drama

In 2006 Ireland's national broadcaster, Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), caused controversy by producing a docu-drama about the Stardust disaster, entitled Stardust, to mark the 25th anniversary of the incident. Many families of victims have objected to this and were upset by the painful memories it brought up. A preview of this drama was shown to relatives in early February 2006 and after some minor changes was broadcast on February 12 and 13, 2006. 2006 (MMVI in Roman) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ; Irish for Radio [and] Television [of] Ireland) is the national publicly-funded broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland. ... A Docudrama or Docu-Drama is a type of work (usually a movie or television show) that combines elements of Documentary and Drama, to some extent showing real events and to some extent using actors performing set pieces to take dramatic liberty with events. ... February-James Pattersons 5th book in the Womans Murder Club Series comes out; it is called The 5th Princess. ... February 12 is the 43rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... February 13 is the 44th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Prime Time

An edition of Prime Time, RTÉ's current affairs programme, broadcast on February 14, 2006, cast doubts on some of the findings of the original tribunal. The programme produced witnesses who were outside the building on the night. Some outside saw fire coming from the roof up to eight minutes before those inside did. New evidence concerning the building's contents and layout was also presented. Important details were also shown regarding the actual location of a store room containing flammable materials and cleaning agents. The document plan of the building which the tribunal used, and which was critical to its findings, was shown to be confusingly flawed by locating the store room on the wrong level. A re-enactment of the fire suggested that it did not happen as the tribunal had found. The conclusions of the show were that the fire started in the roofspace where the store room was located and had already spread across the main nightclub area before those inside were aware of it. If this is true, the original finding of "probable arson" is in doubt. Prime time is the block of programming on television during the middle of the evening. ... Ongoing events • Iraqi legislative election • Bill C-38 (Same-sex marriage in Canada) • Tsunami relief Deaths in February • 5 – Gnassingbé Eyadéma • 4 – Ossie Davis • 3 – Ernst Mayr • 3 – Zurab Zhvania • 2 – Max Schmeling Recent deaths Ongoing armed conflicts • Arab-Israeli conflict • Conflict in Chechnya • Second Congo War • Conflict in Iraq...


Publications

  • They Never Came Home: The Stardust Story - by N. Fetherstonhaugh & T. McCullagh ISBN 1903582091

External links

  • Irish Independent - Stardust relatives anger at RTE, free registration required

  Results from FactBites:
 
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