The remains of a newborn baby who was found dead on a beach in Co Kerry 37 years ago have been exhumed as part of an ongoing investigation.

The baby boy - 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.

Gardaí said that the exhumation took place at Holy Cross Cemetery, Cahersiveen, yesterday morning, on foot of a ministerial order. The baby's remains were taken to the morgue at University Hospital Kerry in Tralee.

The remains of Baby John were reinterred at Holy Cross Cemetery yesterday afternoon.

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 a woman from Abbeydorney - Joanne Hayes - who had given birth to a different baby was questioned by gardaí about the baby found at Cahersiveen.

The Tribunal 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 child. 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.

The exhumation was the first exhumation of Baby John. It was performed so that a full forensic examination of the baby's remains could be done using latest forensic techniques.

It came after Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys signed a ministerial order following a request by the South Kerry Coroner.

Local gardaí in Kerry are being assisted in the murder inquiry by members of the Serious Crime Review Team from Harcourt Square in Dublin.

An appeal for information has been issued by gardaí who believe that there are members of the public who have information in relation to the baby's death.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda Station on 064-6631222, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Additional reporting Barry Cummins