Hayes family solicitor backs call for DNA testing in Kerry babies case

Retired garda says ‘overdue’ tests would determine if Joanne Hayes gave birth to twins

Joanne Hayes and her daughter Yvonne at their home.

Joanne Hayes and her daughter Yvonne at their home.


The solicitor who represented the Hayes family in the Kerry babies case has said they welcome a call for the exhumation of the remains of the two male infants for DNA analysis.

Tralee-based Pat Mann was responding yesterday to retired detective inspector Gerry O’Carroll, who was involved in the Garda investigation into the murder of a baby that led to the 1985 judicial tribunal, and who believes a DNA analysis would support the Garda case that Joanne Hayes had twins.

Mr Mann, who retains close links with the family, said they would put “no roadblock” to DNA tests. “As I have said before, we have no difficulty with this,” he added. “The family is sick and tired of the claim that Joanne had twins being floated from time to time.”

Mr O’Carroll said DNA tests would clarify the matter once and for all. “We did not have DNA testing 30 years ago, but we have it now,” he added. “The tests are long overdue.”

Stab wounds
Mr Justice Kevin Lynch, in his tribunal report, concluded that Ms Hayes had given birth to one baby in her native Abbeydorney on April 13th, 1984, and was not the mother of the murdered baby whose body with stab wounds was found on the White Strand, near Caherciveen, the following day.

The discovery of the Caherciveen baby’s body led to the calling in of the then Garda murder squad, which included Mr O’Carroll.

Gardaí strongly denied a claim by the Hayes family that they were coerced into making statements admitting to the killing of the Caherciveen baby and the disposal of the body in the sea of the Dingle peninsula before its discovery.

Mr Justice Lynch, in his report, exonerated the gardaí of any ill-treatment or physical abuse of the family under questioning.

The body of Ms Hayes’s baby was found on the family farm in Abbeydorney. Blood group findings ruled out the married man with whom she had been having a relationship as the father of the Caherciveen baby and the Director of Public Prosecutions instructed that charges against the family be dropped.

Public disquiet about the the case led to the setting up of the judicial tribunal.

Mr O’Carroll, who joined An Garda Síochána in 1966 and retired in 2000, now lives in his native Listowel, Co Kerry, and writes a column for the Herald . He has been an outspoken advocate over the years of the Garda claim that Ms Hayes had twins.

In evidence to the 1985 tribunal, Mr O’Carroll and his Garda colleagues advanced the “superfecundation” theory that Ms Hayes had been impregnated by the man with whom she was having a relationship and another man at the same time, and had given birth to twins with different fathers.

Under cross-examination it was put to Mr O’Carroll that a gynaecologist had told the tribunal that Ms Hayes would have been grossly distended and walking in a military manner if she was carrying twins.

Mr O’Carroll replied there had been gynaecologists who were surprised when some of their patients had twins.

“Native Dublin women look hugely pregnant, while a lot of country women do not look pregnant at all,” he added.