Coroner to address Stardust jury as deliberations enter 10th day

Seven women and five men considering over 90 days of evidence about fatal 1981 Dublin nightclub fire

Stardust

The jury in the Stardust fire inquests will begin a 10th day of deliberations on Tuesday.

Dublin coroner Dr Myra Cullinane told the seven women and five men jurors on Monday she would “address” them the following day on their “progress” and ask whether there were “further matters” on which they needed clarification.

The jurors, who have been considering over 90 days of evidence about the disaster for 36 hours, are tasked with returning verdicts in respect of each of the 48 people, aged between 16 and 27, who died as a result of a fire in the north Dublin nightclub in the early hours of February 14th, 1981.

They must establish the identity of each as well as the date, place and cause of their deaths, and return verdicts based on facts of the circumstances of the fire. The verdicts available to the jury are accidental death, misadventure, unlawful killing, open verdict or narrative verdict. They must also establish facts about the fire.

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The inquests, which opened in April 2023 following a long campaign by the families, sat for 122 days and heard from 373 witnesses, including staff and management, patrons, members of the public who saw the fire, emergency services personnel and experts in fire and pathology.

When charging the jurors last month, the coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said they must be “dispassionate” and “clinical”, and “put emotions aside”, adding they were “under no time pressure” to reach their conclusions.

Explaining the verdicts, she spent time detailing the parameters within which the jurors must confine themselves if considering a verdict of unlawful killing. “You have heard evidence in this case about how certain things were done and how they might have been done differently. Some of that evidence sought to set out a particular version of events,” she said.

“However, neither you nor I are allowed to record any conclusion ... which attaches criminal responsibility or civil responsibility to any person.”

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