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Taoiseach Asked to Apologise to Betelgeuse Families

22nd April 2024
Irish lawyer Michael Kingston
Irish lawyer Michael Kingston

“The families of those who died in the Whiddy Island Disaster, are steadfast in their pursuit of justice and are not going away,” the Irish solicitor who represents the French/Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse has told the new Taoiseach, Simon Harris, following the State decision to apologise to the Stardust families in the Dáil on Tuesday, April 22.

The State has not engaged “in any meaningful way with the families of the Whiddy Island Disaster who are enduring eternal torture,” says Michael Kingston whose then 31-year-old father was one of 50, ship’s crew and terminal staff, who died in the tragedy when the tanker, Betelgeuse, exploded at the Whiddy Island oil terminal in Bantry Bay on January 8, 1979.

“It is now 45 years, 3 months, and 14 days since our precious family members went to work at the offshore jetty off Whiddy Island, Bantry Bay,” he says. “We are ignored time and again. Fresh Inquests have been requested by the families of the Whiddy Island Disaster victims who died in atrocious circumstances.”

He tells the Taoiseach: “The families of those who died in the Whiddy Island Disaster are steadfast in their pursuit of justice and are not going away. You should, on behalf of this State, meet with the Whiddy Island families, as a matter of urgency, and in that meeting deliver news that fresh Inquests have been ordered.”

Published in News Update
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a column for He is former RTE Marine Correspondent/Presenter of Seascapes and now has a monthly Podcast on the Community Radio Network and Podcast services

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