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It’s so tragic, says Stardust survivor

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Antoinette Keegan holds pictures of her two sisters who died in Stardust fire in 1981

Antoinette Keegan holds pictures of her two sisters who died in Stardust fire in 1981

PA

The nightclub

The nightclub

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Antoinette Keegan holds pictures of her two sisters who died in Stardust fire in 1981

A woman who survived the worst fire disaster in the history of the Irish state - which claimed the lives of her two teenage sisters - said the horrors of the Glenvale Hotel tragedy will haunt the families of the three teenagers who died.

Dubliner Antoinette Keegan said it was devastating to hear how the three Co Tyrone teens lost their lives when a crowd surged towards the hotel entrance on St Patrick's night.

Antoinette suffered horrendous burns in the 1981 Stardust disco blaze in Dublin in which her sisters Mary (19) and Martina (16) died.

A total of 48 people died in the Valentine's Day fire.

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Ms Keegan said the provision of long-term counselling for families bereaved and for the young people at the hotel will be essential.

"I am so saddened to hear about these three young people from Co Tyrone and offer my deepest condolences to their families," she said.

"It is such a devastating tragedy that I know will traumatise the families of the three young people and all those young people who were there celebrating St Patrick's Day in the same way as we were out celebrating Valentine's Day 48 years ago.

"No one can imagine how it feels to be told that your son or daughter will not be coming home after what should have been a good night out with their friends. These were young people, so full of life just as we were, all going out with their friends with I'm sure not a care in the world. It is just so tragic.

"The families will never get over their loss.

"Their lives will never be the same but this tragedy will leave a scar on the lives of all of those young ones who were at the hotel and who witnessed what happened.

"I only hope there will be long-term counselling made available for them because I can tell you, they will definitely need all the help that's available.

"This was something that we didn't get and to this day still haven't been offered any counselling, something that I think it is an absolute disgrace.

"Counselling won't make this go away.

"It won't take away the terrible memories that will stay with the families of these three young people and their friends but it should teach them how to cope with the pain of their loss and the whole trauma."


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