Tributes paid to Stardust campaigner Eugene Kelly following sudden death aged 62

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Tributes have been paid to Stardust campaigner Eugene Kelly following his sudden death last week.

The 62-year-old died at his home in Balbriggan last Wednesday.

Eugene had campaigned for a fresh inquest into the tragic incident in which 48 people had died after a nightclub fire on the 14th February, 1981.

His 17-year-old brother Robert had passed away in the blaze.

Speaking outside the court on October 14th, he said: “Robert’s 17, he was. Now I read my brother’s coroners report and there was nothing left of him. Those people who perished in that fire deserve justice.

“I feel they’re looking down on us and giving us the strength to keep pushing and get our justice. And mark my words, we’ll get our justice.”

Stardust campaigner and survivor Antoinette Keegan, who lost her sisters Mary and Martina in the blaze, posted an online tribute to Eugene.

She said:“He stood tall, stood his ground and he was never going to give up. We’re totally in shock. For his family and grandchildren, we’re all thinking of them. They are obviously very upset.

“We didn’t think that Eugene would be gone a week after the Coroner’s preliminary hearing.

“He had a huge impact on the campaign.

“There were times when he would give me the strength to keep going. He was dogmatic in his attitude and if he wasn’t getting anywhere with the Department of Justice, he would just go in and do a sit-in protest until he got what he wanted. Eventually we get the documents and then we’d leave.

“Right to the very end, he said, ‘I am going nowhere and I will fight to my last breath’, him and my mother, and unfortunately the two of them are no longer here as they were the two strongest campaigners.”

Antoinette’s mum Christine passed away three months ago but she has promised to keep campaigning on behalf of the victims and in honour of Eugene and her late mother.

48 new inquests are set to start next year in a bid to fully find out all the circumstances around the tragedy.

She added: “My family knew what Eugene did for the campaign, but also for my family and my mother.

“He’d collect her and bring her to meetings and places she needed to go. He was like a part of our family. My family saw that, and since he has passed away, they have promised to take up the work he did in his honour.

“Eugene Kelly you came into my family’s life…you stood tall and stood by our Ma, never once did you ever let her down, it’s just so sad today…I swear to my God in heaven, you will never be forgotten and we will get truth and justice.”

Eugene is  survived by his partner Martha, kids Stuart, Mandy and Lyndsey, grandchildren, wider family and friends.

Source: Dublin News