Government must end its cold-hearted treatment of Stardust families - Senator Lynn Boylan
Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan has accused the government of repeated cold-heartedness in its dealings with the Stardust families.
The latest turn of events has angered the Stardust families, who have been in contact with Senator Boylan.
Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Boylan said:
"Last week the Stardust families were invited to another preliminary hearing ahead of the Stardust inquest beginning.
“Despite the Rotunda Pillar Room now being leased for the Inquest - after the government allowed the lease on the RDS to run out - the families have been informed that the pre-inquest hearing will now take place at the Dublin District Coroner's Court in Store Street.
“This has shocked and annoyed the families who are simply refusing to attend. The Store Street Court is the venue of the original much-maligned Stardust Inquest and holds horrific memories for the families.
“At this stage, everybody is exasperated at the government's repeated cold-heartedness. This has occurred too many times and it really must stop. The government must ensure the Rotunda Pillar Room is used for any pre-inquest meeting.
"Likewise, when it comes to the issues regarding jury selection and income protection, Minister Helen McEntee spoke directly with the Stardust families outside the Seanad in February and promised that she would immediately proceed on progressing legislation concerning jury selection and income protection, after a Bill I introduced to address these issues passed unopposed in the Seanad.
"We are now in May and there is still no progress. The families have been informed that the matter is ‘with the Attorney General’.
"If new legislation is required, time is now of the essence. The Dáil will break for the summer recess in July and will return in late September.
“The families are aware that the lease for the Rotunda Pillar Room, which is still unused, will expire in February 2023, so it is quite possible, taking on board the pace of progress of new legislation through the Oireachtas that, once again, there will be no venue for a Stardust Inquest next year.
"The government must now grasp, as a matter of urgency, how important all these decisions are to the Stardust families. It is now over 41 years since the Stardust Fire and time is running out for the families.
"I have written to Minister McEntee to highlight the families' concerns, and I have asked her to please set out a timetable for urgent action and to ensure any pre-inquest hearings take place in the Rotunda Pillar Room.
“The families are tired, upset and at the end of their tethers. They cannot take much more."