Kerry Babies cold case one year on: No damages, no justice, no answers

White Strand near Cahersiveen where ‘Baby John’ was found in 1984
White Strand near Cahersiveen where ‘Baby John’ was found in 1984

Simon Brouder and Sinead Kelleher

Exactly a year after Gardaí and the State apologised to JoanneHayes and her family for their treatment during the 1984 ‘Kerry Babies’ investigation,the Government still hasn’t agreed a compensation package for MsHayes.

On January 16, 2018, Killarney Garda Superintendent Flor Murphy chaired an unprecedented press conference at Cahersiveen Garda Station.

He apologised to JoanneHayes and revealed new DNA evidence that proved she played no part whatsoever in the death of‘Baby John’,the discovery of whose remains at White Strand near Cahersiveen sparked the ‘Kerry Babies’ saga.

Sensationally, Supt Murphy also announced that the notorious case ofthe infant’s murder was to be re-opened.

Since then, a team of nine gardaí, all working full-time on the case, have interviewed “hundreds” of people;taken fresh DNA samples from a number of people running into “double digits” and followed over 300, new and old, lines ofinquiry.

The murder probe remains focused on southern Iveragh but the investigationhas taken gardaí outside the county and the country. Gardaí have liaised with various international police forces as they try to crack the almost 35-year-old mystery.

So far,the renewed investigation – which has prompted significant local anger – has led to no arrests and provided no new answers about the identity of‘Baby John’ or his killer.

This week Supt Murphy told The Kerryman that Gardaí won’t give up until they finally solve the baby’s murder.

“A five-day old baby was murdered,” Supt Murphy said. “We want to solve an unsolved murder. Significant resources have been deployed and this will continue.”

Despite Government pledges that Joanne Hayes would be compensated for the anguish she and her family endured during the murder investigation and the subsequent tribunal, there is still no agreement on damages.

12 months after the Taoiseach apologised to Joanne Hayes on behalf of the State, sources close to the compensation talks say discussions are still ongoing, with no end in sight.

Meanwhile, The Department of Justice maintain that they and Minister of Justice Charlie Flanagan are doing all they can to settle the matter “as expeditiously, compassionately and sensitively as possible