A campaign group in the Isle of Man has made further calls for a fresh inquest into the Summerland fire tragedy in 1973.

The fire, which claimed the lives of 50 people at the leisure complex in Douglas, was ruled as ‘death by misadventure’ in the aftermath of the tragedy.

However, following a Dublin jury ruling last week that 48 people were ‘unlawfully killed’ in a nightclub fire in 1981, campaign group ‘Justice for Summerland’ have said that they will ‘not give up’ in the hope of a new inquest.

In a statement released online, the campaign group wrote: ‘This is a huge moment for the families and friends of the 48 young people who died in the Stardust fire in Dublin in 1981.

‘The verdict of unlawful killing today is a testament to their tenacity and determination to get truth and justice for their loved ones, despite many obstacles, including those put in their way by the state. 

‘Their fight took more than 40 years. They did not give up and neither shall we.’

The ‘Stardust’ nightclub fire in Dublin was started by an electrical fault, with emergency exits being locked when they shouldn’t have been.

The inquest, which was the longest running and largest in the Republic of Ireland’s history, was held at Dublin City Coroner's Court and sat for 122 days, while testimony was heard from 373 different witnesses.

In the court, family members jumped to their feet and clapped when the jury's verdict was announced.

Similarly to the Stardust blaze in 1981, certain doors at the Summerland leisure centre were locked on the night of the tragedy, which was confirmed at the first inquest three months after the fire in November 1973.

This inquest also found that the fire alarms at Summerland had failed to operate, staff had been given no instruction with regards to what should be done in the event of a fire and that there had been prior concerns about the use of the material ‘oroglas’ as the acrylic sheeting in the building.

A further inquest in 1974 led to a verdict of ‘death by misadventure’.

Robert Wilson, a survivor of the fire who is now a member of the Justice for Summerland campaign group, has led the calls for a fresh inquest.

Mr Wilson is from Northern Ireland and was a regular visitor to the Isle of Man with his family. Aged 16 on the night of the fire, he was treated for minor burns after escaping the building with his parents and grandmother.

He told the BBC: ‘Death by misadventure suggests that the people who perished in Summerland did so partly as a result of their own actions.

‘In some way they were responsible for what happened - nothing could be further from the truth.’

Justice for Summerland had previously called for a public apology from the Manx government for the failings identified in the 1974 inquest.

Back in July 2023, a week before the fire’s 50th anniversary, Chief Minister Alfred Cannan issued an apology for the ‘wrongdoings of the past’.

He said: ‘On August 2 we will remember our worst peacetime tragedy and loss of life. The images of the inferno are not something one can easily forget. They are part of our national consciousness and are deeply ingrained in our culture and community. It is vital that we acknowledge and remember that.

‘It is clear that there were inadequacies, failings and lapses identified by the Commission, and that had matters been addressed differently, some of the loss of life at Summerland may have been prevented.

‘I am sorry. Sorry for the pain and suffering felt by everyone affected by the fire and sorry for the failings that could have prevented such a tragedy.’