Tralee solicitor Pat Mann has said the key question surrounding the Kerry Babies case remains how five people admitted to a crime they didn’t commit.
He was speaking on the latest episode of RTÉ series Crimes and Confessions, which will this week examine the Kerry Babies case involving Joanne Hayes and her family.
The Abbeydorney family were implicated in what became known as the Kerry Babies case after the body of a new-born baby was found washed up on White Strand near Cahersiveen in April 1984. Ms Hayes had been pregnant and her baby had died.
The Hayes family signed what they claimed were false statements confessing to a role in the Cahersiveen baby’s death. This followed hours of interrogation by detectives at Tralee Garda station.
After Garda forensics revealed Joanne Hayes could not have been the mother of the Cahersiveen baby, all charges were dropped.
But the case made national and international headlines, and led the Government of the day to establish a State Tribunal to investigate the matter.
In December 2020, Judge Kevin Lynch’s Tribunal report was overturned, and the Hayes family received a State apology and substantial settlement.
All of the gardaí involved in the case have always vehemently denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
In this week’s episode, Mr Mann – who has advocated on behalf of Joanne Hayes since 1984 – recalls the ongoing impact of the case on Joanne Hayes and her family.
“She’s had the burden of a wrong Tribunal finding against her for 40 years, and the ripple effect that that had on her going through life, has been enormous," he said.
“That day in Dublin [in December 2020]...was the elatory moment. The High Court order was agreed condemning the report, that order has been since sent to the library in the Dáil. And is placed on the Tribunal report, effectively nullifying it. Sometimes right happens to get done, even after a long time.”
Watch a clip here: