A priest in Cahersiveen in County Kerry has urged people not to jump to judgement over the Kerry Babies case.
In his homily this morning, Fr Larry Kelly said Ireland in the 1980s was “very different from society today”.
He said there was “a lot of shame, a lot of fear and moral judgment” in the community at the time and told parishioners, “judge not and you shall not be judged.”
He was speaking after two people were arrested on suspicion of murdering a newborn baby in County Kerry in the mid-1980s.
The man in his 60s and woman in her 50s are being questioned at Garda stations in Listowel and Castleisland.
"Sadness and grief"
Fr Kelly began his sermon by acknowledging the “sadness and grief in South Kerry” this morning.
He urged parishioners to keep Joanna Hayes and her family in mind, noting that the pain and suffering she endured is well known to everybody.
He then went on to urge parishioners to “think about the natural parents of Baby John.”.
“They also have gone through years of pain and suffering and loss,” he said. “We must have empathy and compassion for them and for their families also.
“Society in the 80s was very different from society today. People back then were far more judgemental.
“There was a lot of shame, a lot of fear and moral judgment. There was very little help available or places to go for help or advice in those days.
“Thank God life has changed from those dark days of shame and guilt.
“Finally, I would say judge not and you shall not be judged.
“We all have done wrong in our lives so let’s leave it to God to heal all the hurts and all the wounds around this case.”
The body of the baby, who became known as ‘Baby John’, was found with multiple stab wounds on White Strand beach in Cahersiveen almost 40 years ago.
He is believed to have been five days old when he was killed.
A fresh investigation was opened at the beginning of 2018 following a Garda apology to Kerry woman Joanne Hayes, who had been wrongly accused of the murder.
In 2020, the State apologised for the "truly appalling hurt and stress" caused to Ms Hayes and her family.
Gardaí began carrying out DNA sampling in the area when they their cold case review in 2018.
It is believed the sampling has brought the Garda case forward.