‘Kerry babies’ case: Man and woman held on suspicion of murder as DNA set to be examined

Infant, named ‘Baby John’, was found on White Strand beach in Cahersiveen with 28 stab wounds in April 1984

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the discovery of the body of a baby on a beach in Co Kerry in 1984.

The infant, named “Baby John”, was found on White Strand beach in Cahersiveen with 28 stab wounds on April 14th that year.

A man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s were arrested on Thursday evening in the Munster region on suspicion of murder. They were on Thursday night detained at Listowel and Castleisland Garda Stations under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

The Irish Times understands that Kerry Garda Traffic units were placed on standby on Thursday to take DNA samples taken from the man and woman to the Forensic Science Ireland laboratory in Dublin to see if they match samples taken at post-mortem from the dead baby.


Gardaí have made numerous appeals for information in the intervening years about the so-called Kerry babies case, insisting there are still members of the public with important information regarding his death.

A fresh investigation was opened at the beginning of 2018 following a Garda apology to Kerry woman Joanne Hayes, who had been wrongly accused of the murder.

Three years later, gardaí in Kerry exhumed the infant’s remains for the purposes of obtaining a DNA sample. The child’s parents have never been identified.

An extensive investigation has been ongoing since 2018 into the incident by gardaí in the Kerry Division supported by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team. Hundreds of people have been interviewed and over 560 lines of enquiry have been initiated.

“The arrests are a significant development in this investigation in an effort to establish the truth surrounding the death of Baby John in 1984 and deliver justice for Baby John,” said Supt Flor Murphy, who has been leading the investigation.

“I am again appealing to the public for any information in relation to the death of Baby John in 1984. Anyone who comes forward will be treated with sensitivity and compassion.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda Station (064) 667 1160 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Speaking in 2018, Supt Murphy said: “On April 14, 1984 on White Strand Beach in Caherciveen the lifeless body of a new-born baby boy was found in a bag. The baby was called Baby John and he is buried here in Caherciveen.

“We have never found out the full circumstances of the death of Baby John. We need the public’s help to change that.

“Someone is Baby John’s mother. Someone is Baby John’s father. Someone knew his mother or father. People have carried a lot of pain and hurt over the last 30 years.

“This is an opportunity for them to help bring closure to this terrible event and ensure that Baby John receives justice.”

She said it was “strong belief” of detectives “that the answers to this are in Caherciveen and the close surrounding areas”.

“We would ask anyone who was living in Caherciveen and surrounding areas around the time of April 1984 to speak to us,” she said. “Even the smallest piece of information could be vital.

“We will have specially trained personnel available who are trained in dealing with difficult and sensitive issues in a compassionate and professional manner.

“After all these years, Baby John deserves the truth.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times