The jury in the Stardust inquest has been told that steel plates had been welded internally to four windows of toilets six weeks before the fire.

The coroner's court was told that management had fixed the plates for security purposes.

The inquest also heard that there were vertical bars welded to the outside of the windows.

Counsel for the coroner Mark Tottenham told the jury that while the primary purpose for the windows, which had originally been constructed with a 9-inch opening, was for ventilation, it might have been possible for a person to get through them in an emergency.

Today, the Dublin District Coroner’s Court was shown detailed maps, photos and aerial footage of the complex before and after the 1981 fire in which 48 people lost their lives.

The coroner Dr Myra Cullinane told the jury that the purpose of the presentation was to assist them in picturing themselves at the scene. She said it was evidence that will inform their ultimate findings.

The coroner also addressed family members of the victims who were in court today, saying some of the images might be distressing for them and said they were free to leave the room.

Barrister Mark Tottenham outlined to the jury the layout of the complex as well as detailing the materials which made up the roof, ceiling and floors.

The jury was shown various photos and maps of the structure.

He told the court that carpet tiles covered some of the internal walls. He showed the jury photos of the walls which were taken after the fire.

Mr Tottenham spoke too about the fixed, tiered seats and tables.

He said the soft seats were steel framed, the inside was polyurethane foam and they were covered in PVC fabric.

48 people died in the Stardust fire

Mr Tottenham also detailed the roller blinds that were used to section off parts of the ballroom when it was not at capacity.

He also told the jury about the history of the complex. He said it was originally built in 1948 and known as Scotts Food Factory. In 1953, it came under the remit of Dublin Corporation.

It was subsequently acquired by the Butterly family and in 1972 they decided to convert it into an amenity centre, he said.

The building work was completed in 1978 and opened to the public in March of that year.

In 1980, they started to run discos on Friday and Saturday nights.

The remainder of the premises was kept as a food factory, the coroner's court heard.

The jury was told how the Stardust was made up of three parts, the Lantern Room restaurant, the Silver Swan bar and the ballroom itself which was the largest part.

In total, the complex measured just under 3,000sq/m.

Details of Stardust inspections outlined

The inquest also heard details of inspections of the premises carried out by Dublin Corporation.

The court was told how Martin Donohoe, an inspector with special responsibility for electrical matters, carried out seven inspections from July 1979 to January 1981.

None of the inspections were conducted during the hours that the discos were in progress.

Mr Tottenham said that if Mr Donohoe came across other matters which appeared to require attention - such as the obstruction of exits - he duly reported them to his superiors, and this happened in relation to the Stardust.

The inquest also heard that a senior building surveyor with the corporation visited the premises "three of four times" between January 1978 and the date of the fire.

Mr Tottenham also said that because of the size of the dance floor in the Stardust, it was not visited as a matter of routine by the fire brigade.

He said at one stage it had been the practice for the fire service to inspect premises while performances were taking place, but that because of a shortage of staff, that was discontinued years prior to the Stardust fire.

Although a number of members of the fire service had attended the premises as patrons, he said, there had been no systematic inspection of buildings in the area by members of the fire stations in the Dublin area.

The inquest was also told there were ten doormen on duty on the night in question.

Their duties included and locking and unlocking the exits doors – including the emergency exits.

Mark Tottenham told the court that the head doorman at the time of the fire was Thomas Kennan and was answerable to Eamon Butterly.

He also said there had been a high turnover of doormen at the premises. He said a number had been replaced a few weeks before the fire.

Two of the doormen on duty had been working at the Stardust for three weeks. Another had been there one month. While five others were there between six month and three years.