Minister to consult Hayes family before next move on Kerry babies controversy

Taoiseach tells Cabinet more needs to be done to rectify wrongs inflicted on family

Joanne Hayes: Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Attorney General Séamus Woulfe are looking at options including compensation. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is to consult further with the family of Joanne Hayes before deciding the Government's approach to the Kerry babies controversy.

Mr Flanagan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the matter at a meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday, but no formal decisions were taken.

Mr Varadkar told the meeting he felt the State needed to formally apologise to Ms Hayes and outlined why it was necessary for him to have issued an apology last week.

However, he acknowledged there was more that needed to be done by the State to rectify the wrongs inflicted on Ms Hayes and her family.


Ms Hayes received an apology from An Garda Síochána and the State last week about the botched investigation into the discovery of a baby's remains on White Strand beach near Cahersiveen in April 1984.

Mr Flanagan advised he had spoken to the legal representatives of Ms Hayes, who sought privacy and stressed the family’s reluctance for a formal inquiry to be launched.

The Minister and the Attorney General Séamus Woulfe have been considering a number of options to assist Ms Hayes.

However, Mr Flanagan told the Cabinet meeting it was essential the family was consulted ahead of any Government decision on the matter.

Among the options to be assessed include the appointment of a senior counsel to examine the tribunal’s findings to assess if any of them can be quashed or set aside.

It is also examining the matter of compensation to Ms Hayes, but no decision has been taken.