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  • Northside East

Dunphy's tears for Stardust victims

Friday, 14th February, 2020 11:25am

Story by Tony McCullagh
Dunphy's tears for Stardust victims

Eamon Dunphy pictured at the Stardust vigil last night. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Dunphy's tears for Stardust victims

Eamon Dunphy pictured at the Stardust vigil last night. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Journalist Eamon Dunphy found it impossible to hold back the tears when he addressed a gathering of Stardust families and their supporters in Artane last night - and he wasn’t alone.

Hundreds of people turned out for a vigil to mark the 39th anniversary of the nightclub tragedy on Thursday evening, including relatives of the dead, survivors and members of Dublin Fire Brigade. Former RTÉ correspondent, Charlie Bird, was one of the guest speakers, along with Eamon Dunphy and local Sinn Féin councillor Larry O’Toole, who was deputising for Dublin’s Lord Mayor.

Singer Christy Moore had been due to attend but was fighting a throat infection. He sent a heartfelt message of support to the Stardust families which was read out on the night by campaign spokesperson Antoinette Keegan.

The vigil was held in a large marquee which had been facilitated by Dublin City Council’s Madeleine Ebbs, who was warmly thanked by Ms Keegan for her help and support.

After the names of the Stardust victims were read out, there was a musical performance by the North Dublin Gospel Choir, which included a poignant rendition of U2’s ‘One’. Christy Moore may have been absent on the night but his spirit was captured by signer Eddie Sherlock with a stirring version of ‘They Never Came Home’.

An emotional Eamon Dunphy accused politicians of being “as hard as nails” and slammed the treatment of the Stardust families by successive governments.

Charlie Bird spoke of the night of the Stardust fire when he was dispatched to the scene as a journalist to cover the story. He repeated the widely held view that if the tragedy had happened on the Southside of the city, the families would have got justice a long time ago.

Bird said that when he returned to the scene of the fire to make a documentary for RTÉ a few years ago, he was taken aback to discover that there was nothing at the site to commemorate the tragedy. This was put right later in the night when the broadcaster unveiled a large plaque on the building featuring the names of the 48 victims.

While every anniversary is a difficult time for the families, there was sense of optimism at last night's event that they will finally get justice for the deaths of their loved ones with a new inquest set to be held in the near future.

You can watch a video of the North Dublin Gospel Choir performing at the vigil here.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here