RTÉ News has learned that gardaí have taken DNA samples from a small but significant number of people in the south Kerry area, in a bid to establish the identity of the baby washed up on a beach in Cahersiveen in April, 1984.

It comes as gardaí began door-to-door inquiries on Valentia Island in Kerry.

The DNA samples have been taken voluntarily, at the request of investigating gardaí, to try to find a match with baby John.

Most of those who gave samples are women. 

Gardaí began door-to-door inquiries on Valentia Island this morning as part of a serious crime review into the investigation of the Kerry Babies case.

The body of a newborn baby, subsequently named John, was washed up on White Strand in Cahersiveen on 14 April 1984.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences


The baby had been stabbed several times and the mystery surrounding the baby's death has never been resolved.

The discovery of the baby's body, the subsequent discovery of the body of a second baby on a farm near Abbeydorney in north Kerry and the charging of local woman Joanne Hayes gave rise to what became known as the Kerry Babies case.

Joanne Hayes was charged with the murder of baby John, the Cahersiveen baby, in May 1984.

The charge of murder against her and charges of concealment of the birth against four other members of her family were subsequently dropped on the instruction of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In January of this year, the garda Serious Crime Review Team began a cold case review of the investigation.

The door-to-door inquires are part of the work of that cold case review team.


Read more


Superintendent Flor Murphy, who is leading the investigation, said significant work has been undertaken since January by the local investigation team supported by the Serious Crime Review Team.

He said that over 9,000 investigative hours have been spent on the review, and 225 separate lines of inquiry are being followed.

Selective DNA sampling is ongoing and remains a key focus of the investigation.

Supt Murphy renewed his appeal for information from the public, saying gardaí still believe that members of the community in south Kerry have information about the identity of the mother of baby John.

He said: "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 to help bring closure to this terrible event and ensure that baby John receives justice."

He added that even the smallest of information could be of major assistance and reassured anyone who comes forward that they will be treated with sensitivity and in the strictest of confidence.

He said that after all these years, baby John deserves the truth.