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Tuesday 23 October 2018

'Baby John deserves the truth' - gardaí in public appeal as apology issued to Joanne Hayes over Kerry Babies investigation

‘Baby John’ was just five days old when his body was found with multiple stab wounds on White Strand in Caherciveen on April 14, 1984. Gardaí have apologised to Joanne Hayes (inset) for the stress the investigation caused
‘Baby John’ was just five days old when his body was found with multiple stab wounds on White Strand in Caherciveen on April 14, 1984. Gardaí have apologised to Joanne Hayes (inset) for the stress the investigation caused
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

GARDAÍ have issued a full apology, both verbal and written, to Joanne Hayes, the woman at the centre of the Kerry Babies murder investigation, following scientific confirmation she was not the mother of a baby boy found on a beach over 33 years ago.

Supt Flor Murphy said the acting Garda Commissioner, Dónall Ó Cualáin, had written to Ms Hayes and spoken to her over the phone and “to his knowledge” Ms Hayes had accepted that apology.

Supt Murphy reiterated that apology at a press conference at Caherciveen Garda Station today, where it was announced that a full investigation into the death of the infant would “start from scratch”.

“We have been in close contact with Ms Hayes through a Family Liaison Officer since the DNA sample confirmed this,” Supt Murphy said.

Garda Breda O'Donoghue, Det Walter O'Sullivan, Supt Flor Murphy and Det John Brennan pictured at the Kerry Babies Press Conference in Cahersiveen Garda Station on Tuesday.
Photo: Don MacMonagle
Garda Breda O'Donoghue, Det Walter O'Sullivan, Supt Flor Murphy and Det John Brennan pictured at the Kerry Babies Press Conference in Cahersiveen Garda Station on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

“She has been informed of the results and the investigation.

“It is a matter of significant regret for An Garda Síochána that it has taken such a long time for it to be confirmed that Ms Hayes is not the mother of Baby John.

“On behalf of An Garda Síochána, I would like to sincerely apologise to Ms Hayes for that, as well as the awful stress and pain she has been put through as a result of the original investigation into this matter, which fell well short of the required standards.

“The tribunal headed by Mr Justice Kevin Lynch into that investigation rightly criticised many aspects of that investigation. For those failings, I apologise.”

He said it was also accepted the original investigation fell short of what was required and expected of a professional police service.

He said he wanted to reassure the public that this would be “a thorough and professional investigation”.

“While this investigation team cannot change what happened in the past, we can help find the answers into what happened to Baby John and are determined to do so,” he added.

‘Baby John’ was just five days old when his body was found with multiple stab wounds on White Strand in Caherciveen on April 14, 1984.

The murder investigation led gardaí to Joanne Hayes, who was 25 at the time and a mother of one, from Abbeydorney,  in Co Kerry.

Ms Hayes was known to have been pregnant and she and her family later confessed to the baby’s murder.

They later withdrew their confession, which they alleged were produced by coercion from the gardaí.

My Hayes had given birth to a baby boy, who died shortly afterwards. His body was found on the family farm.

He was later buried at Abbeydorney cemetery.

The body of Baby John is interred at Holy Cross cemetery in Caherciveen.

Speaking today Supt Murphy said appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"We have never found out the full circumstances of the death of Baby John. We need the public’s help to change that.

"Someone is Baby John’s mother. Someone is Baby John’s father. Someone knew his mother or father. People have carried a lot of pain and hurt over the last 30 years. This is an opportunity for them to help bring closure to this terrible event and ensure that Baby John receives justice," he said.

"Our strong belief at the current time is that the answers to this are in Caherciveen and the close surrounding areas.

"We would ask anyone who was living in Caherciveen and surrounding areas around the time of April 1984 to speak to us.

"Even the smallest piece of information could be vital.

"Anyone who comes forward will be treated with sensitivity. We will have specially trained personnel available who are trained in dealing with difficult and sensitive issues in a compassionate and professional manner.

"After all these years, Baby John deserves the truth.

"Please help us find that truth for Baby John by contacting us here in Caherciveen on 066 9473610 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111."

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