New evidence questions findings of Stardust report

New evidence which questions the findings of the report of the tribunal into the causes of the Stardust disaster has been submitted to the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

The evidence compiled from fire engineers and other experts will claim that the fire started in the roof space of the building in Artane where 48 young people died on St Valentine's night in February 1981 and not in a ground floor alcove as suggested in the report by Justice Ronan Keane.

It will also suggest that the tribunal did not take full account of the contents of a store room in the roof space where a number of combustibles were held including floor polishes, bleach, wax and boxes of toilet rolls.

The new evidence questions the key finding of the tribunal report which points to arson as a probable cause of the fire and suggests instead that an electrical fault which ignited the fuel load in the roof space caused the fire and spread it rapidly through the building. The new report shows how the lamp room of the building had been beset by electrical mishaps in the weeks and months before the disaster.

Witnesses outside the building noticed a fire in the roof space several minutes before those in the disco were asked to leave the building, where several fire exits were chained shut.

A number of those in the disco also gave evidence of intense heat in the main dancefloor area before there was any indication of a fire.

The new report will also question the findings of a recent review of the new evidence by a government-commissioned expert.

According to Antoinette Keegan of the Stardust Victims Committee the report will underline the demand by the survivors and relatives of the victims of the Stardust tragedy for a new public inquiry into its causes.

"We have been told by the Taoiseach's office that the report contains significant detail and is being examined by the departments of justice and the environment. We are expecting to meet Bertie Ahern to discuss its contents in the coming week," Antoinette Keegan told Village.