I Expect You To Keep Us Honest



Dark Secrets: The Inside Story of Joanne Hayes and the Kerry Babies‘ (published by The Kerryman, 1985) by Gerard Colleran and Michael O’Regan (edited by Gerard O’Regan).

Frilly Keane writes:

I started watching a thing called Designated Survivor, I’m still not sure why I persisted beyond the second or third episode, it’s a bit too much like that Scandal thing with Fitz and Olivia.

It could well be that I’m taking some shallow and nasty comfort in Keifer Sutherland not aging as well as say, one of his exes. But I came across a line in it, ridiculous as it is now going to read, but, here goes:

“I believe our Country is only as strong as our journalists. I expect you to keep us honest.“

And all I could think about was that book [Dark Secrets: The Inside Story of Joanne Hayes and the Kerry Babies‘ (published by The Kerryman, 1985) by Gerard Colleran and Michael O’Regan (edited by Gerard O’Regan], Ger Colleran on Sean O’Rourke, and Michael O’Regan on Marian Finucane..

We were once again introduced to Joanne Hayes, Judge Kevin Lynch, The Kerry Babies tribunal and the Heavy Gang – who instead of being investigated themselves got to sit back while Kevin Lynch promoted Joanne’s anatomy, sex life, and menstrual cycle as more persuasive than evidence crushing the superfeckyougirlundation theory that Gerry O’Carroll still insists on.

Joanne Hayes was mentioned in our mainstream more times in the last month than any member of that Elite Murder Squad. Or even the Justice Minister of the day; Michael Noonan.

Mr Colleran’s first utterance on Sean O’Rourke was “be nice to me.” Before they drove on into the Kerry Babies Case and the Lynch Tribunal; of which Mr Colleran was heard telling the country was “a travesty of Justice from start to end.”

I haven’t read Dark Secrets by the way, well not beyond what was hosted here. But for anyone who has can I ask the question; where in that book does it discuss “elaborate confessions” and “contrived confessions”?

Instead of panning a searchlight over the entire investigation and the Lynch Tribunal to make it visible for the world, they let whom they now liberally refer to as “The Establishment” off the hook.

They allowed the truth to be obscured for profit and professional gain.

I can say that without fear of being taken down or threatened in the way these overly familiar media luvvies do; do you know why? In their own words:

“We couldn’t say things that needed to be said at the time the report came out…”

“It was a whitewash from start to finish..”

“led astray….”

“failure of the State …”

“we were all complicit in that…”

Here we have two local lads, with Colleran himself now back home with the swagger of a middle child after making good in the big city, lapping it up around the Montrose Radio Centre like they’re the Kingdom’s own Woodward & Bernstein.

Put yourself back into that room in Tralee and imagine sitting where Joanne was sitting; now think about the fact that her story was used for personal and financial gain by two men from Kerry; Ger Colleran & Michael O’Regan.

That is called self-interest; not Journalism. Neither gentleman should ever be a cheerleader for Free Speech and Freedom of the Press since they sold that right all those years ago.

On Broadsheet on the Telly there a few weeks ago, Neil Improv fella’s sister, a grown married woman admitted she never heard of the Kerry Babies until this latest reoxygenation. I’m almost offended by that, but maybe I’m jealous.

I did my leaving cert in 1985 – I can see more clearly now why I just wasn’t in the humour to think beyond the following weekend. For years since I relied on the recession and the probability I was heading off meself anyway for that indifference towards my own future.

I also realised lately that I’ve never really shaken off the institutional abuse and the inequality I grew up to be accustomed to.

But those who are only learning about what it was like, and I am only waking up myself the more I look back and the more I extract from the new bandwagon; there were others. Look into Eileen Flynn and familiarise yourself with the legal term “norms of behaviour.”

Incidentally, it wasn’t just the Church that were sacking female employees for having children, the Gardaí themselves were quick to fire any Ban Garda who had a baby without being married. And all this going on here while we were dancing to Duran Duran, U2, Madonna, A-Ha, A-House, Wham, Feed the World ……… doesn’t seem that long ago now does it?

But thank you Nell. Without you we might still be wondering what really happened, and we may never have known about the deception and betrayal perpetrated between the Gardaí, the Catholic Church (Cura) and St Catherine’s hospital.

You’ve also led to a whole new generation, and indeed future generations only knowing the truth. I am not going to pretend life has been kind to you in recent years, but I promise you – this is your legacy girl. Stand tall.

And from my teenage-self Nell; thank you for enabling me to dispute every official line that came my way about Joanne Hayes, The Kerry Babies and The Lynch Tribunal.

Thank you for helping me know I wasn’t some wild child anarchist reacting for the sake of it.

Thank you for letting me know that crying for Ann Lovett was the decent reaction to have and not fear that it could so easily have been any one of us.

I knew a girl that slashed her wrists, I knew girls that were thrown out of the only homes they ever knew, and one the night she went into labour, I also knew girls that went themselves and never came back.

There really were days when I could have begged the Red Cross to come in and save us all; but I knew then Nell, you won’t go down quietly. You had our backs. You were our voice. Thank You. A bit late. But Thank you.

For any Journalist to support a line of thought that is not their own is a fraud. They risk our democracy, and the citizen is their victim.

So there it is, “I believe our country is only as strong as our journalists. I expect you to keep us honest.“

See what happens when I watch too much telly? Blame my teenage crush on Kiefer.

Frilly Keane’s column usually appears here on the first Friday of every month. On this rare occasion, owing to unforeseen circumstances, it appears on the second Friday. Follow Frilly on Twitter: @frillykeane

Previously: Throwing The Book At Them


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20 thoughts on “I Expect You To Keep Us Honest

  1. cian

    Great article Frilly.
    My only gripe is that the journalist that Keifer was talking to was challenging the status quo, was challenging the establishment, was looking for the truth. The journalist was a thorn in the president’s side – and he could have crushed the journalist/story – but chose not too. In that context Keifer was right “I believe our country is only as strong as our journalists. I expect you to keep us honest.“

    What happened with the Kerry baby, and that book, shows where we as a Nation are with our (mostly) weak journalists.

  2. Gorev Mahagut

    There should be a copy of Nell’s book in every courtroom in Ireland. Gardaí should be made swear on it (instead of the Bible) before they give evidence.

  3. Killian G

    This article should have had a warning or something at the top – sort of thing where you habe to click “OK” to agree to have the pants bored off you. Dull as anything.

    1. Woof Woof Frilly Keane

      you know
      I’d normally take that on and run head on into it
      and probably send it back at you with spikes on it

      but you know what
      – in view of injustice against Joanne
      – in the Memory of Ann, and all the other Ann’s
      – because 20 years later 42 men that formed a procession to shake the hands of a convicted rapist
      -or that even today it is assumed by the equivalence of a Senior Counsel of the Bar that an Ireland Captain can sway a jury in rape case
      – Or that most victims of a sex crime don’t report it
      – Or that most women still have to insist on their rights rather than it been a matter of course

      what you posted is Pathetic, as if in the words of a simpleton

      If another Broadsheet Author insisted I’m the Broadsheet Troll Dog with little to no objection from most of ye
      then I might as well make the most of it
      Woof Woof

  4. Lush

    Did my Leaving in 1985 too Frills; reading your article brought it all back and your words were perfect.

  5. dav

    Bravo Frilly. I recall being made serve at a 24hour stations of the cross that was held when either the divorce or abortion referendum was being held in the early 80’s. What a backward hole of a country we were living in.

  6. tarfton clax

    Yup. Leaving cert 1985 too. Brings it all back. No wonder most of my compatriots are atheists.

  7. Kolmo

    Good stuff, especially the country being as strong as it’s journalists – note today’s headline in the Indo stirring up hatred of the poor with their moral hazzard bollox pushed by the banks..read Namaland and you’ll see the real moral vacuum, that’s real journalism and highlights the remarkably passive nature of us all.

  8. Otis Blue

    Came across a piece recently on Joanne Hayes – could have been by Nell – which stated that Hayes still has the distinction of being questioned in the dock longer than any other defendant in an Irish criminal trial.

    Just think about that.

    1. Frilly Keane

      I don’t need to.
      Yes. Joanne still holds that record. As far as I remember, over 4,000 questions were put to her. Some whilst under sedation.

      But here’s what I’m thinking about now Otis
      Mr G above – sort of thing where you habe to click “OK” to agree to have the pants bored off you. Dull as anything

      n’ I’m the one being called a Troll Dog

      Nothing has changed

  9. Truth in the News

    Those in the Guards, the Political Establishment and indeed the late Judge Lynch who
    orchestrated the “Kerry Witch Hunt” need to brought to account and those alive made to
    recant and apologize for what was done to the Haye’s….and then we come to the journalistic
    paragons of the “facts” who wrote the famous book “Dark Secrets”….is it not time they were
    exposed and when they come on in the spoken media confronted about the real “Dark Secrets
    they failed to expose:
    Indeed it should be examined as to how come that they still are employed in sections of the Media.

  10. italia'90

    Top class Frillzers!
    Most of us know that there are serious problems (intentional and by design I suspect) in our republic that must be reformed, starting with our uncivil service in the justice dept., I would suggest.
    The bankers keep stealing and avoiding criminal proceedings. Our FFGL government keep doing nothing.
    Only a mass peoples movement will bring about the change that is needed. Not Rory Ahearne, not Mary Lou and most definitely not the EU. The EU has shown us enough contempt already thanks.
    A non-violent revolution is our only hope. If not, the alternative kind could possibly happen. We have the violent actors still active in our democracy.
    The perfect storm is on the horizon. We need new democratic processes now!
    Rant halted. Apologies.
    Class of ’85 here too. Former alter boy, committed atheist.

  11. scottser

    Good job frilly keane, more of that please. You have a bit of a talent for shining a light into some very dark corners.

  12. Shayna

    Hey Frilly, you seemed to have initiated a “Class of ’85” club – I too, was an ’85er. A good read – ta!

  13. Brian

    Ok, you haven’t read the book. Neither have I. But you’re relying on a post of some one who fisked it. What?

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