Kerry Babies case: Taoiseach & Justice Minister apologise to Joanne Hayes 'on behalf of the State'

Charlie Flanagan says the treatment of Ms Hayes "was unacceptable even at the time"

Kerry Babies case: Taoiseach & Justice Minister apologise to Joanne Hayes 'on behalf of the State'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the third Plenary Session in the Royal Hospital Kilmainhim of the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Charlie Flanagan has said the ordeal suffered by Joanne Hayes over the Kerry Babies case was "unacceptable even at the time".

The Taoiseach and Justice Minister have both apologised to Ms Hayes on behalf of the State.

It comes a day after it was confirmed that gardaí have also apologised to Ms Hayes for wrongfully accusing her of murder in connection with the unsolved 'Baby John' case.

Baby John's body was found on a beach in Cahersiveen in Kerry in 1984.

He had suffered multiple injuries, and is believed to have been five days old when he was killed.

Gardaí said a viable DNA profile has conclusively stated Ms Hayes is not Baby John’s mother.

They have also opened a cold case review to try and find out what exactly happened to Baby John and who his parents were.

Speaking in Strasbourg today, Leo Varadkar said he has only fully learned of the Kerry Babies case in recent weeks.

He observed: "[The case] reflects the extent to which Ireland was such a different place in the 1980s than it is now. I absolutely want to reiterate the apology that the gardaí have made to Joanne Hayes - and also to make that apology on behalf of the State as well."

He added that compensation is something that can be discussed with representatives of Ms Hayes:

In a separate statement, Minister Flanagan welcomed the launch of the new investigation into the child's death.

He said: "I want to particularly welcome the apology made personally to Ms Joanne Hayes by Commissioner Donall Ó Cualáin on behalf of An Garda Síochána which was put on the public record by Gardaí yesterday.

"Joanne Hayes was subject to a prolonged ordeal that was simply wrong on every level. This was unacceptable even at the time and as Minister for Justice and Equality, and on behalf of the State, I am deeply sorry that this happened."

He added: "I note that Ms Hayes’s solicitor has indicated her wish for privacy and I hope this will be respected by all."