Taoiseach apologises to Joanne Hayes 'on behalf of State'

Leo Varadkar has apologised on behalf of the State to Joanne Hayes for what she suffered during an investigation in which she wrongly accused of killing a baby in Kerry.

Hayes was arrested during the investigation into the discovery of a baby’s body on a beach in Co Kerry in 1984.

The newborn baby boy was found dead, with 28 stab wounds in his body, on White Strand beach at Caherciveen, Co. Kerry. Hayes, who lived approximately 80 kilometres away, was known to have been pregnant, was arrested and confessed to the murder of the baby. Hayes and her family later withdrew their confessions, admitting instead that Hayes' baby had been born on the family farm, had died shortly after birth, and had ben buried on the farm in secret.

She was arrested and charged with murder on the grounds that she had been pregnant by two different men and gave birth to both babies.

Advances in DNA profiling led to a Garda review of the DNA evidence. This then led the Garda to confirm that Ms Hayes, as she had maintained, was not the mother of that baby who was found on White Strand.

Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin offered a full verbal and written apology to Joanne Hayes, which was then followed by by an apology from the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan and, speaking from the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, also offered an apology.

“I absolutely want to reiterate the apology to Joanne Hayes made by the gardaí yesterday and do so on behalf of the Irish State...[Ms Hayes was] badly treated by our State and by our society in a way that so many other women have been in the past and that needs to change."

 

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