Stardust survivor honoured with prestigious Cork award

Stardust survivor honoured with prestigious Cork award

Antoinette Keegan. The campaigner's sisters Mary (19) and Martina (16) were among the 48 young people to lose their lives at the Stardust nightclub in North Dublin's Artane on Valentine's Day in 1981. Photograph: RollingNews.ie

A SURVIVOR of the Stardust nightclub tragedy is set to be honoured with a prestigious Cork award just months after losing her mother.

The 2020 Spirit of Mother Jones Award will be presented to Antoinette Keegan of the Stardust Victims Committee almost 40-years on from the worst fire disasters in state history.

The campaigner's sisters Mary (19) and Martina (16) were among the 48 young people to lose their lives at the Stardust nightclub in North Dublin's Artane on Valentine's Day in 1981.

Antoinette had been due to speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones Summer school with her mother Christine Keegan who sadly passed away last July.

After losing her daughters in the blaze, Christine campaigned tirelessly for the cause attending meetings, protest rallies and annual vigils at the site of the Stardust fire. She also visited all the bereaved families in homes across Dublin's Northside. The mother remained determined to seek justice for Stardust victims right up until her death.

Of the 800 young people inside the nightclub that night 48, were killed and more than 200 more were injured. Many of those injuries were serious and life-changing.

James Nolan from the Cork Mother Jones Committee praised Ms Keegan for her strength and resilience.

"Antoinette Keegan is a remarkable woman who along with her family and the Stardust Victims Committee has campaigned for almost four decades to get to the truth of the reasons for the fire which cost the lives of their family members," he said.

"In spite of official indifference, and failure to listen to the Stardust families, Antoinette and her parents Christine and John and other relatives continued to highlight the failure of investigations to explore sufficiently the cause or causes of the fire. 

"As the families now await the new inquest, which has committed to examine the causes of what happened at the Stardust on February 14th,1981 we feel it is appropriate to acknowledge the huge efforts made by Antoinette Keegan, who kept on fighting for justice. We are very honoured that Ms. Keegan has agreed to accept the 2020 Spirit of Mother Jones Award.” 

A date has yet to be confirmed for the award presentation but it is hoped that Ms Keegan will speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones summer school in 2021.

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