This is a powerful story that tells the gripping tale of the murder of an unidentified infant in rural Ireland, which became a series of events that placed an international spotlight on prejudice, ignorance and police corruption.

In 1984, predominantly Catholic Ireland was caught in the midst of moral tensions and civil unrest. The shocking discovery of a violently murdered baby’s remains on a beach in County Kerry launches a gripping investigation into the heinous crime and triggers even greater social divides. The investigation, marred by prejudicial judgements of single mothers and ‘fallen women,’ casts suspicion on Joanne Hayes and her family. This three-part mini-series revisits the case that changed the life of every woman in Ireland and exposed a flawed system, which allowed Gardai to pin the murder on the Hayes family without real evidence. Disturbing revelations surface about the Gardai's unorthodox and brutal practices to force confessions during interrogations. What follows is a highly publicised tribunal of inquiry which exposes Joanne’s private life rather than question the Gardai’s treatment of the Hayes family. It would only be years later that forensic technology would clear Joanne Hayes’ name and provide a chance to discover what really happened to the baby on the beach.

Episode 1:

In 1984, during a time of rising moral tensions and civil unrest, a quiet rural town in South Kerry is shocked by the discovery of a violently murdered baby. This event sets off a gripping investigation into an inconceivable crime.

Joanne Hayes and her family become the main suspects of a biased investigation that focused on so-called “fallen women” from the start. The Hayes family confess to the murder of the baby on the beach while being questioned by the gardai.

In a shocking turn of events the remains of another baby are discovered on the family farm. These are claimed to be the remains of Joanne’s real baby which died shortly after being born. The new evidence cast doubts on both the investigative authorities and the Hayes family. In this engrossing tale, the search for truth blurs the lines between guilt and innocence, revealing the complexities and flaws of the system.    

Episode 2:

The Gardai are determined to prove the murdered baby in Kerry belongs to Joanne without any critical evidence. The true murderer of the Kerry baby case is yet to be solved. The DPP makes a crucial decision to drop the charges against Joanne Hayes and the family.

As the case unravels, disturbing revelations emerge about the methods employed by the Gardai, involving allegations of unorthodox and brutal practices to coerce confessions. The once-hidden practices are now laid bare, challenging the very foundations of justice and raising unsettling questions about the lengths some are willing to go in order to maintain control. 

A tribunal of inquiry is established to examine the methods used by the Gardai. However, it becomes evident that the tribunal's focus is not on scrutinizing the Gardai's actions but on targeting the Hayes family, with a particularly biased and relentless approach towards Joanne Hayes.

Episode 3:

The injustice against Joanne Hayes and her family reaches alarming heights as the tribunal relentlessly attacks them. It becomes evident that the tribunal, led by Judge Kevin Lynch, is biased against Joanne, using intrusive and irrelevant questions as a deliberate tactic to preserve the Gardai's reputation. 

The tribunal transforms into a public spectacle, infuriating women across the nation. Outraged at the violation of a women's right to privacy, protests rally in support of Joanne, igniting a powerful movement questioning the treatment of women and their autonomy over their bodies. The tribunal unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a transformative shift in public perception regarding the rights and treatment of women. Not to mention highlighting the Gardai’s incompetence in solving the murder of Baby John, the baby on the beach.

In 2018, DNA analysis finally exonerates Joanne Hayes from any connection to the Kerry baby, and the authorities apologize for the mistreatment inflicted upon her and the family. Five years later, two individuals in the Cahersiveen area are arrested by the gardai. DNA confirms them to be the parents of Baby John and we are brought closer than ever to discovering what truly happened to the baby on the beach.


"A harrowing story." HEAT MAGAZINE
"Pick of the day." RADIO TIMES
"Pick of the day." DAILY EXPRESS
"Choice of the day." SUNDAY MIRROR
"Takes us through the twisty investigation and uses new details to try and solve the disturbing mystery." DAILY MAIL WEEKEND
"Pick of the day." TV & SATELLITE WEEK
"TV highlights." THE OBSERVER
"Harrowing." THE GUARDIAN
"Pick of tonight's TV." THE GUARDIAN


3 x one hour


Channel 4




Peninsula Television



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