Still no deal from State on damages for Hayes

Simon Brouder

A year after the Gardaí and the State apologised to Joanne Hayes and her family for their treatment during the 1984 'Kerry Babies' investigation the Government still hasn't agreed a compensation package for the Abbeydorney woman and her relatives.

On January 16, 2018, Killarney Superintendent Flor Murphy held a press conference at Cahersiveen Garda Station, where he announced that a formal apology from the Gardaí would be made to Ms Hayes and her family for the stress and pain they suffered during the 1984 murder investigation.

Finally putting the decades-old slur on her name to rest, Superintendent Murphy also said that new forensic evidence had definitively proven that Joanne Hayes was not the mother of 'Baby John', the murdered infant whose remains were found at White Strand in Cahersiveen 33 years earlier.

In the wake of the unprecedented press conference, Ms Hayes and her family also received apologies from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, while the Government indicated it was open to paying compensation to the Abbeydorney woman.

Minister Flanagan said on RTE's Six One News that the issue of compensation for Ms Hayes should be dealt with quickly.

"I think it's important we proceed along these lines, towards the matter of compensation and that we do so in a way that's discreet, in a way that's private and in a way that's speedy," he said.

The Taoiseach, also quoted at the time, said compensation would be discussed with Ms Haye's representatives.

"I can't offer compensation here and now but it is something that I think we can discuss with her representatives in the period ahead," Mr Varadkar said.

Exactly 12 months later and sources close to the compensation talks say that no deal has been reached and talks are ongoing with no end in sight.

While the Government has agreed, in principle, to compensate Ms Hayes, the State has not specifically offered to pay damages to other members of the Hayes family.

The Department of Justice said it was working as quickly as possible to finalise the matter.

"Work is ongoing to deal with this matter as expeditiously, compassionately and sensitively as possible," said Department of Justice Press Officer Cathal Redmond.

"The Minister for Justice and Equality is acutely conscious of Ms Joanne Hayes' request for privacy and does not propose to comment further on the detail of this work," Mr Redmond said.