Australia... and Stardust Remembered

My next post was to be about this Governments' ham-fisted attempts to get this country back on it's feet again. About how they have pitted Private Sector workers against Public Servants, shored up the (w)Bankers with OUR money, fretting about getting builders back to work ( same builders who've been overcharging and pushing up property prices for years) and letting the developers off scot free. I'm SO annoyed at the way they've picked on one sector only (Public Servants) to help solve a problem not of our making. We'll be down €65 per week and we're a one income family. Pay cuts ( we got a levy imposed NOT a pay cut) and tax increases yet to follow, no doubt. And don't get me started on the certainty that cuts in services for special Needs will be following! They've already started with the cut in Special Classes in schools.
But you know what? Sod it! We have a house, a job and food on the table. The people affected by those awful fires in Australia are not so lucky. What a terrible, terrible disaster to befall a nation and it's people. Those who've survived have nothing but their lives. And so many other lives have been lost. And all, allegedly, because some guys(?) thought it might be fun to start a fire or two?? Oh my God....... how truly terrible. They will have to live with that on their conscience for the rest of their lives. I'm hoping that they have a conscience.
Australia, 2009

Thinking of this disaster makes me think of the night almost 28 years ago when 48 people lost their lives in the Stardust nightclub disaster in Artane, Dublin. Some families lost 2 and 3 family members that night. Teenagers in their prime.

Stardust, Ireland 1981

I remember that time so well. I lived with my family in Coolock, next to Artane, at the time. A group of my friends and I had been to the Stardust a few weeks earlier for a fundraiser. On Friday 13th ( this year Friday falls on the 13th also ) we were to go again. There were a couple of birthdays around that included as I'm a Valentine baby! So it was to be a fun, celebratory night. For the life of me I cannot remember why we cancelled. I know it was only decided that day that we weren't going, I just don't remember why. I'm eternally grateful though.

I remember waking up the next morning as my mam brought me up my Birthday brekkie in bed! She told me the news. We hadn't heard the ambulances during the night. I was so shocked. A number of the teenagers killed that night lived on our estate. The 48th person who died didn't die until a couple of weeks later....he was a relation of mine although I didn't know him.

I remember taking a cycle over to the Stardust and that's when the enormity of it hit me. I was only 19. The smell of smoke hung around us for weeks. The sadness lasted a lot longer. I found out later that day that my next door neighbour had been there that night. He told me how he and his girlfriend thought they saw a fight starting and she said "I'm going to the loo".... to hide. He told her to wait a minute. They got out soon after. Those who fled to the loos were trapped and didn't survive. Lucky escape for my pals, so.

That was a shocking disaster too. Hitting a working class area where unemployment was high and money in pockets was low. And all because the bastards locked the exits to stop people getting in without paying.

It was concluded that the cause was arson. Not a good thought in a working class area ..... to think that someone there, or who'd tried to get in without paying, had caused it. Terribly unfair. As a result the owner, Eamonn Butterly, received compensation.....the families got NOTHING. They've fought against the conclusion of arson for years. There was flammable goods in storage above where the fire is believed to have started. See here http://http//

The Government has only recently accepted the Stardust Victims Committee's (privately funded) independant report that it WASN'T arson, and the public record is to be changed accordingly. That is an enourmous victory, and relief, for the Stardust victims' families.

And what of the Stardust site??? They tried to re-open a night club over the years and I know there was a pub there at one point. Badly attended I hope! Eventually turned into the Butterly Business Park with childcare centre. Last November it too went on fire and was completely destroyed. No-one hurt, Thank God. Asbestos found on the site. Well done Mr Butterly. You've SUCH a social conscience.
My heart goes out to the people affected by this disaster in Australia. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray that you all somehow recover from this. In time.
I also remember the Stardust victims at this time.