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Vindication 'Suffering and stress of this ordeal is finally behind us' - Joanne Hayes issues statement following State apology over Kerry babies case

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Settlement: Joanne Hayes was at the centre of the Kerry Babies saga in 1984. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Settlement: Joanne Hayes was at the centre of the Kerry Babies saga in 1984. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Settlement: Joanne Hayes was at the centre of the Kerry Babies saga in 1984. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The State has apologised to Joanne Hayes, the woman who was wrongly accused of murdering an infant over 35 years ago, and her siblings over their treatment during events that became known as the Kerry Babies case.

The apology, made before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds at the High Court on Friday and reiterated one made in 2018, forms part of a settlement of damages actions brought by Ms Hayes, her sister Kathleen and brothers Michael and Edmund following their arrest by the Gardai in May 1984.

Conleth Bradley SC for the State said it wished to express its deep regret over the hurt and stress caused to the Hayes family.

Their damages actions were against the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General, which the court heard have been struck out.

As part of the settlement the family also secured declarations from the court that all findings or wrongdoing made against them by the Tribunal into the case were, that took place in late 1984- early 1985 were unfounded and incorrect.

The court also made a declaration that their questioning, arrest, charge and prosecution on dates between April and October 1984 were unfounded and in breach of their constitutional rights.

In addition, a separate damage claim by Ms Hayes's daughter Yvonne McGuckin have also been settled, and were struck out no details of that settlement were revealed in open court.

The making of declarations, the family say, will vindicating their good names after more than 35 years after an unfounded investigation and prosecution and unfounded findings made by the tribunal.

Arising out of the settlement, the declarations are to be permanently attached to Tribunal report in the Oireachtas Library, which the family say will ensure the accuracy of the public record.

Ms Hayes and her family were not in court when the apology was read out.

In a statement Ms Hayes thanked all those who had supported the family over the last 36 years and added that after many years that the "suffering and stress of this ordeal is finally behind us".

She also asked that their privacy be respected and that the family "could return to our lives within our local community in peace."

More to follow...

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