Seanad debates

Friday, 12 February 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Lynn BoylanLynn Boylan (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I would like to raise the distressing news that the delay in the Stardust inquest commencing is due to the Department of Justice and its stonewalling of the legal teams representing the families and the release of funds. We were given repeated commitments by the Minister for Justice and by the Taoiseach, when he announced the budget last year, that there would be sufficient funding put in place for the inquest. This is the largest inquest in the history of the State. This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the horrific fire that took the lives of 48 young people. Every year, the number of relatives at the anniversary decreases because they are dying, unfortunately. The relatives are getting old and deserve answers.

I ask that the Leader writes to the Minister for Justice and requests that she immediately meets with the legal team representing the families to resolve the issue of funding. The Department was warned by the legal team that the legal aid route would not be the appropriate route to go down and that a special arrangement was needed, as was the case with the Hillsborough inquest, in order for the inquest of this scale to proceed. That warning was ignored by the Department of Justice. It has ignored all of the letters and is now refusing to release the funds to allow the inquest to proceed. I beg the Leader to please take this message back to the Department of Justice as these families need answers and for the inquest to start immediately.


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