‘It Was I Who Went On Trial’


“Two more detectives from Dublin came in. They were roaring, shouting and one of them slapped me across the face twice. I was crying the whole time. They really frightened me.”

Further to yesterday’s apology from An Garda Siochana to Joanne Hayes for the “stress” caused to her over the Kerry Babies case.

The above is taken from a clip of Ms Hayes speaking to RTE in 1985.

The footage was played on RTE’s Six One last night.

RTE’s Six One also played a clip from an interview Ms Hayes had with Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show in 1985:

Gay Byrne: “Did you not expect the tribunal to find as it did?”

Joanne Hayes:I didn’t expect a clap on the back but I didn’t expect they’d go so hard on me. After all, the tribunal was set up to look into the behaviour of the gardai but it was I who went on trial.”

And finally.

On last night’s Prime Time.

Dr Vicky Conway, an associate professor at Dublin City University’s School of Law and Government, and historian Diarmaid Ferriter discussed the Kerry Babies Tribunal.

Dr Conway said:

“Let’s not forget whether it was when she was being interviewed or the tribunal itself, she had just lost a child. This woman was grieving the loss of a child.

“And that was never really acknowledged in the tribunal.

“…when you read the reports and the transcripts of the tribunal, this was all about establishing Joanne as a liar, as a seductress, as a temptress

“…one of the things that gets lost as well, despite the State pathologist saying that Joanne did not kill her own child, Mr Justice Kevin Lynch ruled that she did. He says that she choked her child and hit it over the head with a bath brush and there is no evidence to support that.

“And yet she has to live with the fact that a judge said that about her, that she killed her child when she did not.”

Watch RTE’s Six One and Prime Time back in full here

Irish Feminist Judgment Project: Kerry Babies case (Vicky Conway, Academia.edu)

Yesterday: Thirty Four Years Later



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20 thoughts on “‘It Was I Who Went On Trial’

  1. Brother Barnabas

    so they’re reopening investigation into baby john’s desth, but no comment on how that ‘confession’ was extracted from the hayes family?

  2. Kdoc1

    The court of public opinion believed the State Pathologist. It was obvious to the blind that, to put it mildly, the judge erred.

  3. newsjustin

    Did anyone see the hair on the man that Ms. Hayes was in a relationship with? Was on RTE news also. A full 8 inch Kerry Fro.

      1. Otis Blue

        Ah, grand. I was thinking more Gil Scott-Heron badass.

        Still, I reckon Paul Galvin could be all over this for his 2018 Spring/Summer collection.

    1. ReproBertie

      What are you talking about? They did a DNA test last year which showed that Joanne Hayes could not have been the mother and also “that there is no match between Baby John and anyone whose DNA is held on the State’s DNA database.” That’s why the cold case team will be identifying people in Kerry to approach to ask for DNA samples.

      1. Blonto

        How are they going to collect DNA samples? Surely people will simply refuse. It’s another fudge to make it look like they’re doing something.
        These are the same tactics they used in the Philip Cairns case recently. “Look what we are doing. We’re seriously trying to solve this case.” So they pull a stunt like this and continue to protect the culprit.

        1. ReproBertie

          Did you miss the “identifying people in Kerry to approach to ask for DNA samples” bit?

          They’re going to ask people to volunteer samples.

          How do you know they are protecting the culprit?

  4. Daisy Chainsaw

    Joanne already had a daughter “out of wedlock” that was being raised by her in the family home. The Hayeses obviously cared more about Joanne than social standing and what the neighbours might think because they didn’t cast her out to a laundry… And they were roundly punished for it.

    The abuse meted meted out to Joanne and her family by Official Ireland is yet another disgrace to add to the list of many. I hope they get well compensated and the gardai who won compensation are forced to pay it back with interest.

    1. Sam

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there Daisy. The Hayes family had defied the powers that be, by not letting Joanne be punished and enslaved, so nobody was going to stand up for her getting slapped by cops and tarred as a murderer.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        It was heartening to discover that not only did de Dublin Feminists protest Joanne’s treatment at the Lynch Tribunal, but her neighbours in Abbeydorney did too.

        1. Narky Anne

          Nearly the entire village of Abbeydorney
          Nell McCafferty, Journalist
          Tom Inglis of UCD’s School of Sociology
          Marguerite Egan of the Tralee Women’s Group
          Diarmaid Ferriter, historian, and lecturer of Modern Irish History at UCD
          Mary O’Rourke, TD
          Vincent Brown, journalist
          Bernie McCarthy and the Tralee women’s action group (instigator of the yellow flower campaign to show Ms. Hayes that she was not alone)
          Marsha Rowe and Rosie Boycott, non-editors of the Spare Rib magazine

          Not just the Dublin feminists that you are so snarky about. A lot of people protested at the treatment of Joanne Hayes.

  5. GiggidyGoo

    Sick little excuses for law and order.
    We also need the Mary Boyle case properly investigated.
    We also need the Father Molloy case properly investigated.
    There are common involvements in the failures to do these properly. Law and order? Yep. The Irish states version.

  6. anne

    34 years later. All a bit strange.

    Why now? An apology could have been issued long before now.

    Is this to take attention away from Noirin at the current tribunal?

  7. LilyBeth Montefrack

    Another murder unsolved. Baby John deserves justice. He would be 34 now if he hadn’t been stabbed to death in a frenzied attack. And if you are talking of wronged women, what about the wife of Jeremiah Locke?

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