Archbishop Farrell: the truth has set the Stardust victims and families free

24 Apr, 2024 | Bishops, News

On 20 April during the Vigil Mass in Bonnybrook Parish Church, Coolock, the Archbishop of Dublin Archbishop Dermot Farrell delivered the homily for the victims and families of the 1981 Stardust fire.

Archbishop Farrell preached, “In the readings for Mass this weekend Christians are reminded that we have no higher dignity, and no greater joy, than being children of a loving God.  Yet, over these days, we have been moved once again by the suffering of the families whose children were unlawfully killed in the Stardust night club in the early hours of 14 February 1981 – and parents, brothers, sisters and friends – in one of the greatest disasters and tragedies of our time.  The tragedy of this event was multiplied by the manner in which they were systematically and stubbornly denied truth and justice.

The Primate of Ireland continued, “Those who were unlawfully killed in the Stardust fire were a source of joy to their families and friends.  The heart was taken out of those families and of their whole community in that unspeakable disaster.  The courage and  persistence of their search for truth and justice has been dignified and inspirational.  Their solidarity with one another sustained a hope for truth that was otherwise denied them for so long.  ‘The truth will set you free’ (John 8:23).  How do we recognise truth?  We recognise truth by its capacity to heal broken lives and to help the families and communities to rebuild.  The truth that emerged this week from the inquest enables families to deal with what happened in the inferno over four decades ago and puts them on a road to freedom.

“In this Easter season Christians celebrate the victory of life over death, light over darkness.  The Christian conviction of that truth is the source of our liberation.  The resurrection of Jesus reminds us that in the face of persistent injustice, in the midst of darkness, something new always springs to life, and sooner or later produces new fruit.  It is an irresistible force.  Due to the endurance and tenacity of their families, the truth has finally set them free of a massive burden of the injustice and untruths that they have tenaciously fought to remove.  We pray that the end of this long journey to the truth will bring a sense of peace for many, even though their mourning will not end.”

Forty-eight young people died in the Stardust nightclub fire on Saint Valentine’s day in 1981 and, after 43 years of waiting, on 23 April Taoiseach Simon Harris announced from Dáil Éireann a formal State apology to the surviving family members and loved ones.

Read the full text of Archbishop Farrell’s homily.



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