Our lady escaped from Stardust earlier than going to search for her sister, then a brand new tragedy occurred

Our girl escaped from Stardust before going to look for her sister, then a new tragedy happened

She instructed FAMILY of the agony of dropping two sisters to the horrific Stardust hearth.

Julie McDonnell’s devastated kinfolk stated she ought to have celebrated her twenty first birthday the weekend after the February 1981 hearth, however as an alternative of a celebration, the household discovered themselves planning a funeral.

Family members of Julie McDonnell, sister-in-law Sandra McDonnell, with niece Pamela McDonnell, sister Paula McDonnell and niece Natasha McDonnellCredit score: RollingNews.ie
Julie was purported to rejoice her twenty first birthday the weekend after the hearth
The aftermath of the hearth on the Stardust nightclub within the early hours of Valentine’s Day 1981Credit score: PA:Press Affiliation

And so they confronted new grief 5 years later when Julie’s sister Lorraine, a hearth survivor, took her personal life the day earlier than she was as a result of obtain compensation from the state and begin a brand new life overseas.

In a pen portrait of Julie McDonnell offered to the inquest at the moment, her niece Pamela McDonnell stated Julie and her sister Lorraine had been like two peas in a pod and did all of it collectively.

Pamela recounted how on the night time of the Stardustfire, Julie escaped the hearth however returned inside to search out her sister, Lorraine.

She additionally described the guilt their youthful sister, Paula, nonetheless feels to this present day as she danced within the competitors that night time and the brothers had attended the Stardust to help their little sister.

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Pamela stated that Julie was a fun-loving, joyful, caring and considerate one who labored arduous to offer for the household as a breadwinner alongside her mom.

Julie was loopy about soccer and was a coach for a neighborhood soccer membership. She additionally beloved music and was loopy about Elvis.

Pamela stated her mom and father Paddy, Julie’s brother, additionally attended the Stardust that night time and so they each noticed and heard issues which might be engraved of their minds and can perpetually be part of who they’re now.

She recounted how, on the night time of February 13, there had been a fantastic stir in the home as Paula, her youthful sister, was dancing within the competitors and everybody can be supporting her.

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When Paula was topped the winner alongside her dance companion, Julie and Lorraine freaked out, screaming with delight for her.

Pamela stated: Paula remembers leaving the stage and becoming a member of the ladies for a celebration dance and everybody was so joyful.

After the hearth broke out, there was chaos, with folks in search of their family members.

Her father, Paddy, noticed Paula go away and met Julie exterior.

He stated: Each had been in search of Lorraine. She stated: you go that approach and I will go that approach. She did not know that Julie had gone again into the hearth to try to discover her sister.”


Pamela recounted how her father arrived house to search out Lorraine had been taken to the hospital and Julie nonetheless hadn’t returned. She stated her and Paula’s nanny had been on the window ready for information.

She stated: ‘My dad instructed them he noticed Julie and that she was out and to not fear. My nanny had satisfied herself that Julie was superb and had gone to assist another person.

Nevertheless, as time went on, panic began to set in and her father and brother went in search of Julie in hospitals.

The search continued the next day earlier than Julie was recognized by her Aunt Lily and Uncle Michael sporting a appeal bracelet Lily had not too long ago given her.

Pamela stated it was the beginning of a complete new life within the McDonnell household crammed with ache, anger and grief.

Pamela instructed Julies 21stthe birthday was scheduled for the next weekend, and the household was confronted with canceling her occasion and arranging her funeral.

Julie was buried in Sutton Cemetery two days earlier than her birthday.


Paula, who was solely 15 on the night time of the hearth, needed to dwell with the truth that many family and friends had come to help her that night time.

Pamela instructed the coroner’s court docket. I discuss to Paula at the moment and see the anguish and guilt she lives with.

She stated Julie’s loss of life additionally had a huge impact on Lorraine, saying: she had misplaced her companion; her psychological well being was struggling.

Pamela stated Lorraine was unable to search out work in Eire and began making use of for jobs in New York and Canada as an au pair.

He recounted how in 1986 the federal government was paying compensation to the victims of the hearth.

Pamela stated: This did not sit effectively with Lorraine and he or she instructed my dad she felt like they had been paying for her ache.

She was provided £33,000 for her burns and was as a result of money her test on Tuesday. It should not have occurred as a result of she Lorraine killed herself on Monday night time. One other little one is gone.


Pamela remembered her aunt as somebody with a depraved humorousness who spoiled me to loss of life and took me all over the place.

She stated her nanny had died, heartbroken, in December 2020.

He added: There was no justice nor any decision for her. Our solely comfort is that she’s with the ladies now.”

In a pen portrait delivered at the moment, the brother-in-law of a lady who misplaced her solely brother within the Stardustfire recounted how she developed a number of sclerosis (MS) within the years following the hearth and suffered an additional blow when her husband and his companion contracted Covid and he spent months in hospital earlier than lastly succumbing to the illness in December 2021.

Homosexual McKeon spoke as he offered a pen portrait of Gerard McGrath, 21, ready by his sister-in-law Liz McKeon (née McGrath) earlier than she died final 12 months.

He stated Liz and her brother Sean had been married ten weeks earlier than the Stardust.


Homosexual defined that the couple had no kids of their very own and that there have been no surviving members of the McGrath household left alive, so he was submitting the portrait on Liz’s behalf.

He stated the Stardustfire had an enormous impact on Liz and her household and was like a darkish shadow that hung over them for 40 years.

She stated Liz’s MS took an enormous toll on her bodily talents and that she was nearly completely bedridden, utilizing a modified wheelchair when standing.

Homosexual stated Sean was Liz’s main caregiver, however when he fell ailing and was rushed to hospital for remedy, he contracted Covid and died in Beaumont hospital.

She stated: Liz did not get to see him for months and solely noticed him briefly the day earlier than he died.

He stated Gerard had misplaced not solely his life, but additionally the chance to satisfy his hopes and ambitions, have a household of his personal, go away a legacy, perpetuate that line of the McGrath household tree, and have shut household to recollect it.

Gerard stated he hopes the inquiry will deliver justice to Gerard and the opposite victims who misplaced their lives within the stardust.


In her pen portrait of Gerard, Liz stated being requested to encapsulate her great brother, the potential 40 years of life he’d stolen from him, and the impact it had on their little household was an almost inconceivable job.

He stated Gerard was an impartial boy who spent his days within the traditional childhood actions of the time and was solely seen at house when he wanted to eat or sleep, Liz stated in his portrait.

He had a ardour for wildlife and an encyclopedic information of backyard birds.

Three years his senior, Liz stated she was instructed to take him to Dublin’s Previous Fowl Market or Georges Pet Store on Marlborough St to hear in surprise to Jacko, Myna’s speaking fowl.

He instructed how Gerard beloved to go to the Pure Historical past Museum, the Lifeless Zoo as it’s identified, the place he was fascinated by the displays.

The morning of the hearth, Liz stated she known as Gerard to hitch a trip. She instructed her that he and her girlfriend had booked a trip and would in the reduction of on their socializing to economize.

When Liz requested concerning the Valentine’s Day clubbing that night time, she replied, “In fact I am going out tonight, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, after that I will save so much.”

Liz stated these had been the final phrases he ever stated to her.

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She recounted how the doorbell rang at 3 the next morning and the way she spent days ready for formal identification as she was one of many final victims to be recognized.

He stated: Simply 10 weeks after he celebrated at my wedding ceremony, I now had to decide on a coffin for my little brother.

The fireplace claimed the lives of 48 folksCredit score: PA:PA Press/Pictures Affiliation

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