‘Baby John’ appeal revives rumours of extra-marital affairs

Reports of secret relationships and long-hidden affairs are being recalled in Co Kerry as a result of the renewed investigation into the death of the baby found stabbed on a beach near Caherciveen in 1984.

‘Baby John’ appeal revives rumours of extra-marital affairs

An appeal for information accompanied last week’s re-opening of the inquiry into ‘Baby John’, who was found with multiple stab wounds on White Strand on April 14, 1984.

Rumours circulating in the community at the time, concerning secretive or little-known relationships between married women and men, and married men and single women, are being resurrected and are now being told to gardaí.

Gardaí say all leads, including rumours, brought to their attention, will have to be checked out.

However, senior gardaí stress that all such matters will be handled with the utmost sensitivity.

“There is no definite lead and the investigation is expected to be slow-burning”, said Superindentent Flor Murphy.

Existing and new material is being adjudicated on, the senior garda said.

Last week, Joanne Hayes, who was wrongfully accused of the killing, received a garda and State apology for her treatment during what became known as the Kerry Babies case.

A team of 15 gardaí are in Cahersiveen and they include gardaí from the Kerry Division, as well as gardaí from the Serious Crime Review Team.

While the original investigation, involving the so-called murder squad, a team of detectives from Dublin, and local gardaí in Caherciveen, had been intense, it was truncated when it was believed a definite suspect had emerged in the north of the county.

The school attendance records of the girls’ secondary school, St John Bosco, had been examined by detectives, but no girl had been missing in and around that week, before Easter, when the baby’s body was found.

A trawl through The Kerryman archives shows the front-page story under the headline ‘Child May have been Murdered’, written by Des Cahill, and includes an appeal by Cura, the Catholic pregnancy agency, which had only been in the area since the previous October. Cura offered shelter and support to the mother.

The report also details how the baby, found on the beach on a Saturday night and baptised John, was buried on Monday afternoon. Local councillor Mary O’Donoghue, the late mother of former minister and ceann comhairle, John O’Donoghue, placed a wreath at the grave. The boy scouts formed a guard of honour for the tiny coffin.

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