TRIBUTES HAVE flooded in for the 48 people who lost their lives in the Stardust nightclub fire on the 40th anniversary of the tragedy.
A further 214 people were injured during the fire at the Artane nightclub in Dublin on Valentine’s Day 1981.
More than 800 people were in attendance at the venue on that fateful night.
To this day, nobody has ever been held responsible for the blaze, despite two inquiries into the disaster.
A third investigation is due to take place at Dublin Castle later this year.
It follows years of campaigning by the families of those who tragically perished in the fire.
Antoinette Keegan was among those who were present in the club on the night in question.
She was there with her two sisters, Mary and Martina, who both sadly died in the ensuing disaster.
On this day in 1981, Ireland woke to the news of a devastating fire in a nightclub in Artane. Let us take time to remember the 48 who never came home, their families, the injured and all those who responded on the night.#Stardust40 pic.twitter.com/olQr8VxffE
— Dublin Fire Brigade #StayHomeSaveLives (@DubFireBrigade) February 14, 2021
Speaking to Newstalk on the anniversary of the tragedy, she described the nightmare that unfolded on what was supposed to have been the happiest of times for her siblings and her.
“We were pushed to the floor, and people were running over us,” she said.
“All I could remember thinking was, ‘We’re never going to get out, please God, help us, help us’.
“But we couldn’t breathe, the smoke was that thick and it was going into your throat and stopping you from breathing.
“And then the heat and trying to hold your hand over your head because of the flames and stuff right on top of you.
“It was like being in hell, that’s what it was like, being in hell and I’ll never forget it.”
Mary Lou McDonald was among those to pay tribute to the 48 people who died as well as the survivors and families affected by the heartbreaking episode.
The Sinn Féin president lit a candle in remembrance of those who died.
She tweeted: “Forty years ago forty-eight young souls perished in the Stardust. The pain and hurt is felt to this day. Forty years later their families still wait for justice and truth #JFT48”
Forty years ago forty-eight young souls perished in the Stardust. The pain and hurt is felt to this day. Forty years later their families still wait for justice and truth #JFT48 pic.twitter.com/F04CdFuFdk
— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) February 14, 2021
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) also paid their respects in a statement issued on social media.
“40 years today since the Stardust fire. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims,” it read.
“Many INMO members were on duty that night and well remember the terrible events. Pictured is the memorial to the victims in Beaumont Hospital.”
The Dublin Fire Brigade also marked the date with a moment of reflection.
“On this day in 1981, Ireland woke to the news of a devastating fire in a nightclub in Artane,” a spokesperson said.
“Let us take time to remember the 48 who never came home, their families, the injured and all those who responded on the night.”