Couple arrested in Kerry Babies case 'would not drop a sweet wrapper on the ground'

Neighbours describe couple as well-respected in community and ask why gardaí cannot 'leave well alone'
Couple arrested in Kerry Babies case 'would not drop a sweet wrapper on the ground'

The grave of 'Baby John' in Caherciveen. Picture: Don MacMonagle

Neighbours of two people arrested last week in connection with the Kerry Babies murder mystery have spoken of their “total shock” at the arrests.

They describe the couple as the least likely to even drop a sweet wrapper on the ground, and some have even asked why gardaí cannot “leave well alone”.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, they insisted there was nothing in either of the man or woman’s lives that would ever have attracted any suspicion.

The man and woman were arrested last Thursday on suspicion of the offence of murder but later released without charge. A file is to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Their Killarney-based solicitor Padraig O’Connell was asked by the Irish Examiner if either the man or the woman wanted to make any statement and he said they did not.

The man and the woman are described by neighbours as both from well-respected families, and both well-respected in their communities themselves.

One, who asked not to be named, said: “We are all completely shocked by this.

Both of them would be the least likely to be the type of people you would ever suspect of even dropping a sweet wrapper on the ground."

They added: “There was never so much as a hint — ever — that this couple, let alone anybody else in this place, was in any way involved.

“I’ve lived here for years, and it is almost impossible to keep everything quiet.

“Everybody tends to know everybody else’s business, and I have never heard it said, and I don’t know anybody else who has ever heard it said that there was a link to the Kerry Babies case here.” 

Another neighbour, who also asked not to be named, said: “Everybody is shocked but I wonder if that is because we have all of a sudden been thrust back in time.

“People are making the odd comment about these arrests but for the most part, there is silence.

“People don’t really want to talk about it.

It happened a very long time ago, and there is a feeling among a number of people around here that maybe it is all best just left alone.

“Why, I hear some asking half under their breath, can’t the gardaí just leave well alone.” 

The arrest and subsequent release without charge is the latest twist in the near 40-year murder mystery.

An extensive investigation has been ongoing since 2018 into the incident by Kerry gardaí supported by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.

Hundreds of people in south Kerry have been interviewed and over 560 lines of inquiry have been initiated.

After the arrests, gardaí described them in a statement as being “a significant development” in the investigation into Baby John’s death in 1984.

He was found by a farmer on White Strand, Caherciveen in the evening of Sunday, April 14, 1984.

It was during the post-mortem examination carried out later by the then state pathologist Dr John Harbison it was discovered the baby had 28 stab wounds.

Local receptionist Joanne Hayes ended up being wrongly accused of being involved.

She was later exonerated, and the State made to not only give her and her family a formal apology but a substantial payment was made to the Hayes family for the hurt and suffering they endured as a result of the way gardaí handled their investigation.

To date, Baby John’s parents have never been formally identified or come forward.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

logo podcast

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on

IE logo

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd