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20th Apr 2024

Patrick Kielty pays powerful tribute to all 48 people who died in Stardust fire

Stephen Porzio

The Late Late host was joined by family members of those who died in the fire, as well as survivors.

On the latest episode of The Late Late Show, host Patrick Kielty paid a powerful tribute to all 48 people who died in the Stardust fire on the night of February 13, 1981.

Earlier in the week on Thursday (18 April), the jury in the Stardust inquests reached a verdict of unlawful killing in the case of all 48 deaths – giving the families of the deceased closure after 43 years. 

Following this, Kielty was joined on his programme by both Antoinette Keegan and Selina McDermott.

Antoinette was in attendance at the Stardust on the night of the fire and lost her sisters Martina and Mary in the blaze.

Selina was just 11 at the time of the fire and lost her brothers George and William and sister Marcella in the tragedy.

Kielty asked the two women how they felt when they received the verdict on Thursday afternoon.

In response, Antoinette said: “It was very overwhelming. It was kind of a numbness, going around in a daze like: ‘Is this real?’ We finally got it.”

“It was fantastic getting an unlawful killing because we firmly believed that that should have done back in 1982 at the very first inquest. But what was done on us, right, was absolutely terrible, really and truly.

“We should have never have had to wait 43 years. But we got it thanks to our legal team.”

She also said: “We fought so hard to get what we got yesterday and the truth has been told.”

Patrick Kielty pays powerful tribute to all 48 people who died in Stardust fire

Selina McDermott also said about the moment they received the result: “It was absolutely incredible. It was nearly almost surreal because it was completely packed and everybody was so anxious and nervous because even up to then, we had been let down so many times by the State.

“My mother was afraid that morning when she was going out that her batteries [weren’t] working in her hearing aid. She wanted to make sure that she would hear the verdict.

“And she heard it. We just saw her head and her shoulders go down onto the table. She cried so much. It just came from inside and it just poured out of her.”

During the conversation, Antoinette also told the programme that the Stardust campaigners were set to meet with the new Taoiseach Simon Harris on Saturday morning.

She said the campaigners will be calling for a “public apology” from the State, explaining: “We shouldn’t have had to do this for 43 years.”

After speaking with the two women, Kielty told them: “On behalf of everyone here and everybody watching across the country tonight, we’d just like to thank you guys for keeping going.

“I mean, there was no end to your fight for the truth. We also know that there’s no end for you and for all the families who’ve had to live with your loss.

“This has always been about your loved ones and keeping every one of their memories alive and so tonight, we would like to remember every single one of them.”

The host then proceeded to read out the names of all 48 people who died in the Stardust fire, before saying: “Rest easy and goodnight”.

The tribute received a standing ovation from the Late Late audience. You can watch the powerful moment right here:

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