The families of the 50 victims of the Betelgeuse oil tanker tragedy at Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay have decided to take legal action against the State.
The French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse are applying to the High Court to change the death certificates of those who died to reflect what they claim to be the Irish State’s failure to address multiple unlawful safety failings which, they claim, caused their deaths.
It is forty years since the explosion which blew the tanker apart at the Whiddy oil terminal.
Maritime lawyer Michael Kingston is Vice-President of the Relatives and Friends Association. His father, Tim, was one of those killed. He announced the legal action at the Mother Jones Summer School in Cork, where he said the relatives are also seeking a State apology.
“They were left to die in atrocious circumstances and the State failed in its duty to ensure safe operations and failed to show any compassion, have issued no apology and have ignored the approaches made to them by the Betelgeuse relatives,” he told me.
A public funding appeal has been launched to raise money for the legal action.
Michael Kingston details this and what the relatives want from the Government in this week’s Podcast. I asked him first why the relatives were still so angry over the tragedy forty years ago.
Listen to the podcast (below) and also listen to the powerful letter from Jeanette Ravale (above) – whose husband, Marcel, was killed when the Betelgeuse exploded…She has visited Bantry several times. This letter was read at the 40th-anniversary commemoration in Bantry Cemetery in January by former French Consul in Cork, Francoise Letellier and again at the Mother Jones Summer School.