Exclusive: Stardust manager remains silent as he is photographed for first time since unlawful killing verdict

Stardust nightclub manager Eamon Butterly remained silent when spotted for the first time since the unlawful killing verdict last month.

Our exclusive photos show Butterly, 79, back outside her palatial gated home in North Co Dublin – almost a month after a jury concluded all 48 victims of the infamous 1981 nightclub fire were killed illegally.

Butterly – who had previously failed in a proceeding to exclude unlawful killing as an option for jurors – was seen wearing a shirt and shorts and stopped in his tracks when he spotted our photographer outside his mansion closed on Friday, but then he entered his home. .

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The nightclub owner, who denies that the doors were locked inside that night, did not seem to hear our questions from the other side of the door – as he walked home. We then rang the doorbell on the intercom, but Mr. Butterly did not answer and did not return to his door.

Journalist Paul Healy visits the home of former Stardust manager Eamon Butterly. Photo: Mick O’Neill.

Contacted by the Irish Mirror following our attempts to contact Mr Butterly, Stardust survivor Antoinette Keegan, who lost two sisters in the fire, said she was just happy the truth was being revealed after 43 years.

“I don’t even want to talk about him. The only thing I’m happy about is that we still got the truth. I have no comment to make about him,” she said.

Asked what happens next for her and the many families affected, Antoinette replied: “We have an excellent legal team and they are working on it with the government at the moment. We got what we rightly deserved after 43 years and now it’s up to our legal team to continue for us.”

His comments came as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris asked officers to review the verdict and determine whether a criminal investigation should be launched. If such an investigation were opened, it would likely be the largest homicide investigation in state history.

During the lengthy inquest into the deaths, Mr Butterly rejected repeated invitations from Des Fahy, KC, to the families of nine of the dead to revise his position that the six exits had been opened at around 11.30pm that night by the head porter, the late Thomas Kennan.

Stardust’s manager, Eamon Butterly. Photo: Mick O’Neill.

“What I am suggesting to you very clearly, Mr. Butterly, is that these people died because exits three, four and five were locked when the fire broke out. They couldn’t escape,” he said.

“Well, I deny it,” replied Mr. Butterly.

“The place was (full of) smoke and the lights went out…everyone panicked and they didn’t know where they were…I don’t believe the doors were locked, sir, and it This is my testimony… When I came out afterwards, all these doors were open.

Mr Fahy said what happened at the three exits “was a disaster… because they were locked”.

“Well, it was a disaster, but it wasn’t because the doors were locked…the doors weren’t locked,” Mr. Butterly repeated.

Mr Butterly went on to say he trusted his doormen that night and said the doors “were open when the fire started, unlocked”. Mr Butterly was also accused of “lying” at the inquest by Michael O’Higgins SC, who represented the families of 10 of the dead.

Mr O’Higgins claimed Mr Butterly’s accounts of the crucial events before, after and on the night of the disaster were “completely vague”, “contradictory” and “not based in truth”.

Under cross-examination, Mr Butterly maintained that all exits from the club were open from 11.30pm. Mr O’Higgins asked why, in his statement to the Gardaí in October 1981, Mr Butterly failed to mention the policy of locking exits until around midnight.

“I told them that the head doorman had opened the doors. Which I still believe and I believe very much,” Mr. Butterly replied.

Mr O’Higgins questioned why the witness told Gardaí that the policy of attaching chains to exit push bars had been in force for three weeks, when it had been a policy for years – claiming it was “selfish” and “wrong”, and allegedly “misled the guards”.

“No. I did not mislead the guards,” Mr Butterly said – also rejecting the claim he was lying.

Apart from his home in Dublin, Mr Butterly is also known to spend time in the Los Cristianos area of ​​Tenerife. An original investigation into the 1981 Stardust fire concluded that the cause was likely arson.

At the time, Eamon and his father Patrick were awarded £581,000 in damages while a three-bedroom house in Dublin cost around €35,000. The findings of arson were overturned decades later and last month the inquest found the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

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