Former Stardust barman accused of making up story of leading dozens to safety

Published date06 September 2023
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
Laurence Neville, who was 25 at the time of the disaster, told inquests into the deaths on Wednesday he had shown "about 30" people a way out of the venue. Mr Neville, appearing at Dublin coroner's court, rejected the assertion by Sean Guerin, SC for the families of nine of the dead, that he had "fabricated" the event to "respond" to criticisms in the wake of the disaster that all the staff escaped while patrons died

Fresh inquests into the deaths of 48 people, aged between 16 and 27, in the early hours of February 14th, 1981, were ordered in 2019 by then attorney general Séamus Woulfe on the grounds that the original 1982 inquests did not sufficiently inquire into the cause of the disaster.

Mr Neville made the 999 call to Dublin Fire Brigade from the venue at sometime between 1.40am and 1.45am, he said. He said he exited the Silver Swan bar, which was part of the Stardust complex, about 20 minutes after that and just one fire tender arrived about 10 minutes after that. He heard screaming and shouting from inside and a "huge bang" which he was "told later was the ceiling coming in". He went to exit one and pulled people out.

He told Simon Mills SC, for the coroner Dr Myra Cullinane, he brought a fireman up a fire escape to exit 1 who went in some way into the building. The fireman said: "My god, I have never seen anything like it," said Mr Neville.

"He got on to his radio and [very quickly] there was every fire engine, guards, ambulances, civil defence, priests."

Mr Guerin asked him about an account he gave at the 1981 tribunal of inquiry chaired by then Mr Justice Ronan Keane, in which he had described showing about 30 patrons a way out through the Silver Swan bar. Mr Guerin said Mr...

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