Gardaí apologise to woman over 'stress and pain' caused by Kerry Babies case

Detectives have a new DNA profile gathered from a blood sample taken at the time

Gardaí apologise to woman over 'stress and pain' caused by Kerry Babies case

Image: Stephanie Grogan

Gardaí have apologised to Joanne Hayes for their treatment of her in the Kerry Babies case.

They have launched a fresh appeal for information into the murder of ‘Baby John’ who was found on a beach in Cahirciveen in April 1984.

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

25-year-old Joanne Hayes was arrested and confessed to the baby’s murder but later withdrew it.

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

They now want to establish who Baby John was and who his parents are, and say the answer to the case lies in south Kerry.

Gardaí say attitudes in Ireland have changed since the 1980s and people may be willing to come forward and progress their investigation.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Flor Murphy offered an apology for the ‘awful stress and pain’ Joanne Hayes has been put through as a result of the investigation into the case.

He added: "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 the renewed appeal, he noted: "We have a duty and professional responsibility to investigate. We must establish the full circumstances surrounding the death of this child."

Anyone with information is being asked to contact gardaí in Caherciveen on 066-947-3610 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.

Fresh appeal

Baby John's grave | Image: Stephanie Grogan

Irish Examiner journalist Catherine Shanahan has been following the story:

"Forensic science or technology has developed to the point now where they have been able to generate this full DNA profile," she said.

"So I suppose, on foot of that, they have now gone back to the public.

"They are launching an appeal today, they are re-visiting the case and they are saying, ‘look, if anyone in the Abbeydorney area or the wider surrounds has any information that can help us solve this case’ – that is why it has reopened."

The child's death was investigated by detectives who also probed the alleged killing of another infant.

It eventually led to a tribunal exposing the treatment of women in 1980s Ireland.