Gardaí investigating the murder of a baby boy in Co Kerry 37 years ago have renewed their appeal to his mother to come forward.

The body of the newborn baby - known as Baby John - was found at White Strand beach in Cahersiveen on 14 April 1984.

The infant had suffered a number of stab wounds.

His remains were exhumed yesterday as part of the ongoing investigation into his death.

Speaking on Radio Kerry this morning, Superintendent Flor Murphy, who is heading up the joint review into the investigation, said gardaí want to deliver justice for Baby John.

He said: "We want to deliver justice for a five-day-old baby whose very, very brief life was cut short.

"The operation yesterday demonstrates our total commitment to deliver justice for Baby John and to find answers to those questions that have been around for 37 years."

Supt Murphy said he believes that the baby's mother is the key to the investigation.

"We believe she has suffered loss and pain, and hurt, and grief, and I am appealing to her to come forward. She will be dealt with compassion and we understand the pain she has endured over the past 37 years," he said.

Supt Murphy said the exhumation of the baby's body from Holy Cross Cemetery was both essential and important.

The exhumation took place at around 10am yesterday and the remains were brought to Kerry University Hospital. Following examination there, the remains were reinterred just before 4pm.

Supt Murphy said it was important to point out that the operation was carried out with the highest amount of respect and sensitivity and renewed the garda appeal to the wider community for information.

He said he believes there are people out there close "to those tragic events" who should come forward and the renewed investigation has seen hundreds of different lines of inquiry followed up, with the support of the Serious Crime Unit in Dublin.

"Yesterday's step was important to resolve the sad events of 37 years ago and try and bring closure to these events," he said, adding that, in conjunction with the other work being undertaken by investigating gardaí, justice will be delivered.

The original investigation into the death of Baby John, and the subsequent discovery of the body of a second baby on a farm near Abbeydorney outside Tralee in Co Kerry, led to a Tribunal of Inquiry in 1985 into the garda handling of the case.

The tribunal was set up after Joanne Hayes from Abbeydorney, who had given birth to a different baby, was questioned by gardaí about the baby found at Cahersiveen.

It found that Ms Hayes was not the mother of the Cahersiveen baby, as she had always maintained.

A DNA profile of the baby generated in 2018 also confirmed that Ms Hayes was not the mother of the Cahersiveen baby.

This DNA profile came from a sample retained from the post-mortem examination in 1984.

In January 2018, gardaí apologised to Ms Hayes for the stress and pain she was put through as part of the original investigation. The Hayes family was awarded compensation from the State, reported to be in the region of €2.5m.

Pat Mann, solicitor for the Hayes family, said this morning that "as the matter has nothing to do with us, and had nothing to do with us, there will be no comment".