Prayers for baby amid Kerry inquiry

A prayer was offered at weekend Masses in Caherciveen for the infant Baby John and for his family, amid a new inquiry into what was a traumatic event in a South Kerry community over 30 years ago.

Prayers for baby amid Kerry inquiry

The body, a number of days old, was found on a now Blue Flag beach, White Strand, on April 14, 1984.

The baby had been stabbed multiple times. Two weeks ago, gardaí announced a murder inquiry had been re-opened.

Parish priest Fr Larry Kelly led the Prayers of the Faithful at Saturday evening and Sunday Masses in the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church following the psalm which, the priest said, invited people “to soften our hearts”.

“We come now in confidence to the Lord whose words and actions inspire change,” Fr Kelly said, introducing the prayers for compassion in the community, for young people and Catholic Schools’ week.

A mention for Baby John included a request for “all who offer care” at this time: “For Baby John, that he may be eternally enfolded in God’s light.

“For his family, and all who offer care at this time, may they know God’s tenderness and closeness by our words and actions,” the prayer said.

The stabbing of the baby, known as the Kerry Baby, shocked a nation and the infant was named “John” by undertaker Tom Cournane who also tended to his grave over the years. The grave was badly vandalised in July 2004.

Meanwhile, a new inquiry, based in an incident room in Caherciveen Garda Station, is now entering its third week and involves officers from the Dublin based Cold Case or Serious Crime Review Team, along with experienced detectives from the Kerry Division.

It is expected a further appeal for information will shortly be issued.

The team has in its possession the original Garda logbook of the investigation, a Garda source confirmed. The logbook and case notes indicated “black magic” had also been considered and later discounted, at the time, as a likely reason for the death, according to evidence in a previous tribunal. The logbook also details the names of those interviewed and those to be re-interviewed in the locality.

A number of follow-up interviews, at the time, never took place as the concentration had shifted to Abbeydorney and Tralee, and Joanne Hayes.

In recent weeks, senior gardai and the government have issued apologies to Joanne Hayes, the North Kerry woman wrongly suspected of being the infant’s mother.

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