Monthly Archives: January 2018

Mattie Lennon Irish Author- THE KERRY BABIES

THE KERRY BABIES

By Mattie Lennon

“Murder cannot be hid long.” (Shakespeare.)

   Contrary to what the Bard said some murders can be hidden for decades.  A murder investigation has been mounted last month into a killing which took place 34 years ago.

Chief Superintendent Walter O ‘Sullivan says they are investigating the death, “ . . as if it happened today.”

   On Saturday 14th April 1984 a dead baby with 28 stab wounds and a broken neck was found on the beach of White Strand, County Kerry.  A murder hunt got under way led by Superintendent J. P. Sullivan.  On Thursday 26th April Detective Sergeant Gerry O ‘Carroll of the then “Murder Squad” arrived from Dublin.

Almost every female of child-bearing age in the Caherciveen area was treated as a suspect.  Then it was established that Joanne Hayes from Drumcunning Lower, Abbeydorney, almost 40 miles away, had given birth but there was no baby as a result. Detective Superintended John Courtney and Detective P.J. Browne, both from the Murder Squad,  (known as “The Heavy Gang” in Dublin), arrived in Kerry on 29th April.  All three Murder Squad Gardai were Kerrymen. Courtney was from Anascaul, the native place of explorer Tom Crean and O ‘Carroll and Brown were both natives of Listowel; a market town in north Kerry famous for fiction-writers. Joanne Hayes along with three members of her family were taken to Tralee Garda station where Joanne Signed a confession that she had killed the “Cahirciveen baby” and her family signed statements that they had witnessed the killing and driven 40 miles to dispose of the body.  (Journalist Joe Joyce says, “The statements had the kind of flourish well known to those of us familiar at the time with confessions in garda stations . . .”) The Hayes family could not have committed the crimes that they allegedly confessed to.

   Joanne had told the detectives that she did have a baby, that it died at birth and she had buried it on the family farm. She gave an exact location of where she put it. More than once she offered to accompany detectives to the scene. Was her offer(s) accepted? No. The Gardai conducted a half-assed search and, of course, found nothing.   Members of her family located the baby’s body exactly where she had said it was.  Blood tests proved that she was not the mother of the “Caherciveen baby” but the Gardai proceeded to charge her with the murder. (I can’t find any evidence that a file had been sent to the DPP.)  When the case came to court the state announced that it was not proceeding.

   When it was established that Joanne Hayes was telling the truth about the death of her baby and the disposal of its body the Gardaí had to take a different track. They put forward the superfecundation theory whereby Joanne could have had twins be two different fathers.

  A subsequent internal garda enquiry failed and a public tribunal of enquiry, chaired by Mr. Justice Kevin Lynch, started in January 1985.  It lasted 84 days, 109 witnesses were called and 61,000 questions were asked   (One lawyer asked Joanne 2,216 personal questions).  Ostensibly the tribunal was an examination of Garda behaviour during the interrogation of the Hayes family but turned out to be a concerted effort to humiliate, embarrass and devastate Joanne Hayes and her family.  Kerry’s Eye editor Ger Colleran says, “Everyone knew Joanne was innocent but if that was proved then a lot of very powerful and important people would be shown to have misbehaved badly. The system would have been rocked, and careers ruined. So there was only one option – to destroy her.”      When the decent people of north Kerry, and further afield,   decided to stage a peaceful protest Justice Lynch threatened to jail them if they disrupted the tribunal.  The learned Dublin-born judge described them as “raucous, ignorant, urban dwellers” and  Detective P.J. Browne knocked great fun out of describing Abbeydorney as “Babby-dorney.”

   In his report Justice Lynch accused the Hayes family of “barefaced lies and blatant perjury” but the Gardaí only “gilded the lily” and    Detective Superintendent John Courtney simply, “elevated wishful thinking to the status of fact.”   Justice Minister, Michael Noonan agreed with Justice Lynch’s report and likened his powers of deduction to those of Sherlock Holmes. However not all politicians felt that Justice Lynch had anything in common with the sleuth of Baker Street.  Senator Mary Robinson who was to become President Of Ireland and later  United Nations High Commissioner,  asked  how the Hayes family came  to give signed confessions  to the murder of a baby which,  “ . . .for scientific reasons among others, they were not in a position to have carried out or to have any part in.”       The Dáil committee on women’s rights described the questioning of Joanne as “insensitive, harrowing, horrific and shameful”.

  Kevin Lynch worked hard to protect the establishment and he was well rewarded for it. He became a Judge of the Supreme Court in 1996.

  Gerry O ‘Carroll, who was later promoted to Inspector, spent years calling for a DNA test which he claimed would prove  that Joanne Hayes had twins. He knows now. In late 2017 a DNA test proved beyond all doubt that Joanne Hayes was not the mother of the “Caherciveen baby.”  And there is no match between the baby and anyone Whose DNA is held on the State’s DNA database.

     On January 16th Superintendent Flor Murphy offered a public apology on behalf of the Garda Siochana, to Joanne Hayes for the “stress and pain” she suffered as a result of being wrongly accused of killing the “Caversiveen baby.”  He said, “I believed it was important to exonerate Joanne Hayes once and for all. A wrong had been visited on her and saying sorry was the right thing to do.” And Acting Garda Commissioner Donal O Cualain sent a letter of apology followed by a phone call to Joanne Hayes.

 On the same day Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he wanted to, “. . . reiterate the apology the Gardaí made to Joanne Hayes and also to make that apology on behalf of the State as well”. He went on to say that Ms Hayes was,” Very badly treated by our State and by our society.” Mr Varadkar said: “I can’t offer compensation here now but it’s something that I think we can discuss with her representatives in the period ahead.”

   The Garda’s serious crime review team (SCRT) have now launched a murder inquiry into the “Caherciveen baby’s” death and Superintendent Murphy has asked for the public’s help.

                                                                      *********

   When I was writing the above a paragraph in Ireland’s Own jumped out at me. I don’t think the author was thinking of the Kerry Babies when he wrote it but I believe it’s worth including, “A time comes when the damage done to us has to be acknowledged and realised. Who knows what surprises may come our way when we clear out the space for them. The arrival of February is an especially apt time to take stock in this way, the best kind of spring cleaning.”

Mattie Lennon  mattielennon@gmail.com

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Odyssey Storytelling- Presents “You Don’t Know Me”

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SISTERS IN CRIME DESERT SLEUTHS CHAPTER and PHOENIX COLLEGE- PRESENTS “Building Unforgettable Stories from Compelling Characters”

SISTERS IN CRIME DESERT SLEUTHS CHAPTER

and PHOENIX COLLEGE PRESENTS:

“Building Unforgettable Stories from Compelling Characters”

Instructor: DAVID CORBETT

Date and Time: March 3, 2018 – 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Location: Phoenix CollegeOsborn SiteWillo Conference Room – 
3310 N. 10th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013 – (NE corner of 11th Ave & Flower)

In this one-day workshop, award-winning novelist DAVID CORBETT, author of The Art of Character, will guide participants through a variety of techniques that will not only enhance their characterization skills, but deepen their understanding of motivation, conflict, and story. Participants can expect to learn:

  • Where to find inspiration for intriguing characters.
  • How to build compelling characters from the inside out, using the conflict between Yearning and Resistance.
  • How to create compelling back stories, how to use them to create behavior, and when to use that information in the story.
  • How to explore the character’s physical, psychological, and sociological natures for greatest dramatic effect.
  • How to use Secrets, Contradictions, and Vulnerability to intensify reader engagement.
  • Strategies for what to reveal about a character and what to withhold.
  • A methodology for creating meaningful secondary characters, and how to create a character web that maximizes cooperation, competition, and conflict.
  • Specific techniques relevant to the mystery/crime genre—i.e., creating complex heroes and villains, as well as developing secondary characters unique to the genre.

 

DAVID CORBETT is the Award-Winning author of six novels, including 2015’s The Mercy of the Night and the upcoming The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday, as well as the novella The Devil Prayed and Darkness Fell, the story collection Thirteen Confessions (2016), and the writing guide The Art of Character (“A writer’s bible” –Elizabeth Brundage). His short fiction has been selected twice for Best American Mystery Stories, and his non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, Narrative, Bright Ideas, and Writer’s Digest, where he is a contributing editor. For more about our instructor, visit: www.davidcorbett.com

Registration Fee: $50.00 for Desert Sleuths Chapter Members, $75.00 for non-members (snacks and lunch included).

 

For further details and to register, please visit: http://desertsleuths.com/davidcorbettworkshop/

Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter

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The Society of Southwestern Authors- Forum Happy New Year Ya’ll  Jan. 21st,2018 “World Building-It’s in Every Novel”   So What Is It? Come and Learn From Keith Shaw

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Website: www.SSA-AZ.org

 

  Forum

Happy New Year Ya’ll

 Jan. 21st,2018

At the Hotel Tucson (Inn Suites)

From 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Hotel Tucson

475 N. Granada, Tucson, AZ 85701

Coming from the north or south on I-10, take the St. Marys/Speedway exit. Go East to Granada St. traffic light. Turn right on Granada. Second driveway is the Hotel Tucson. OR traveling west on Speedway, cross Stone Ave.  Next left is Main St. Turn left, cross RR tracks. Go straight. Main becomes Granada at traffic light, and second right driveway is The Hotel Tucson.

“World Building-It’s in Every Novel”  

So What Is It?

Come and Learn From

Keith Shaw

You can do it too.

This is a Forum with a delicious dinner

 Forum Reservations: Please RSVP

**Email macarman6@gmail.com or

 Phone# 520-444-8253 leave a message for Mary Ann Carman

(SSA’s Secretary)

by Wednesday January 17th,2018

Cost: $25.00 w/ RSVP $30.00 at the door

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