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A Woman to Blame: the Kerry Babies Case
A Woman to Blame: the Kerry Babies Case


 
Our Price:9.95
Authors: Nell McCafferty
Publication Year: Softback 2nd edn 2010
Pages: 160
Size: 195 X 127mm

ISBN: 9781855942134
Qty:

Description
 

Joanne Hayes, at 24 years of age, concealed the birth and death of her baby in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1984. Subsequently she confessed to the murder, by stabbing, of another baby. All of the scientific evidence showed that she could not have had this second baby. The police nevertheless, insisted on charging her and, after the charges were dropped, continued to insist that she had given birth to twins conceived of two different men.

A public tribunal of inquiry was called to examine the behaviour of the police and their handling of the caseThe police, in defence of themselves and in justification of 'confessions' obtained, called a succession of male experts on the medical, social and moral roman catholic fibre of Joanne Hayes.

Her married lover detailed the times, places and manner of her love making. Using the ...twins... theory as a springboard, the question was posed and debated ...Did she love this man or what was he and other men prepared to do with her?... After six months of daily discussion among the men, the judge declared ...There were times when we all believed she had twins....

The treatment of Joanne Hayes, who stood accused of no crime, was a model for Irish male attitudes to woman. She was caught up in a time of rapid social change between two Irelands, an earlier Ireland in which the Catholic Church had held a moral monopoly and a new liberal and secular Ireland.

Nell McCafferty is an Irish journalist, playwright, civil rights campaigner and feminist


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Average Rating: 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 2 Write a review »

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
 
The reprinting of Nell McCafferty s book about th March 26, 2010
Reviewer: The Clare People from Republic of Ireland  
The reprinting of Nell McCafferty s  book about the Kerry baby tribunal  this month serves as a stark  reminder of how just how far the  now departed Celtic Tiger was  removed from the Ireland that  could put a single woman on the  stand and publicly discuss the most  intimate details of her life.  The book reads like an account  of a witch trial but this is not an  account from some medieval time    it is Ireland in the 1980s. This is  a story that reminds us that single  women giving birth in that decade  were often offered rings from  Woolworths before they went into  the maternity hospitals  lest anyone  would know they weren t married.  The Pope had just left Ireland when  a campaign began which ultimately  enshrined in the Irish Constitution  a greater right to life for a fertilised  human egg than the right enjoyed  by its mother.  It was against this background that  Joanne Hayes  at 24 years of age   concealed the birth and death of  her baby in County Kerry  Ireland  in  1984. Subsequently  she confessed  to the murder  by stabbing  of  another baby. All the scientific  evidence showed that she could  not have had this second baby. The  police  nevertheless  insisted on  charging her and  after the charges  were dropped  continued to insist  that she had given birth to twins  conceived of two different men.  A public tribunal of inquiry was  called to examine the behaviour  of the police and their handling of  the case. The police  in defence  of themselves and in justification  of  confessions  obtained  called a  succession of male experts on the  medical  social and moral fibre of  Joanne Hayes. Her married lover  detailed the times  places and  manner of her love making. Using  the  twins  theory as a springboard   the question was posed and  debated   Did she love this man  or what was he and other men  prepared to do with her?  After six  months of daily discussion among  the men  the judge declared   There  were times when we all believed  she had twins.   The legal men and a succession  of male doctors  psychiatrists and  police officers   43 in all   spent six  months probing the young woman s  mind and body. A doctor gave the  dimensions of her vagina during  a previous birth. Ordnance survey  maps were used to pinpoint the  exact locations of the places where  she had sexual congress with her  married lover.  At one stage  the grilling became  so bad that Joanne collapsed. The  judge ordered her sedated and  brought back to answer questions.  Every day during the trial  the  people of Ireland  appalled at  what was happening  sent Joanne  flowers  cards and Mass cards.  The treatment of Joanne Hayes   who stood accused of no crime   was a model for Irish male attitudes  to woman. She was caught up in a  time of rapid social change between  two Irelands  an earlier Ireland in  which the Catholic Church had held  a moral monopoly and a new liberal  and secular Ireland.  A Woman to Blame is a gripping retelling  of a story we would do well  not to forget.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
 
AS I was only four years old when this case happ March 26, 2010
Reviewer: Wexford Echo from Republic of Ireland  
AS I was only four years  old when this case  happened  I had no  knowledge of it  and I  didn t know what to expect  when I was handed this  book to review. I have to  say though  I couldn t put  it down. I found it  unbelievable  shocking  and in parts farcical  the  way this woman was  treated by the maledominated  justice system.  This is the story of  twenty four year old  Joanne Hayes who  in  1984  concealed the birth  and death of her baby in County Kerry and  subsequently confessed to the murder  by stabbing  of  another baby. Both babies were a different blood type   and there was no scientific evidence that Ms. Hayes  could have had the second baby. Regardless of this  the  Garda  came to the conclusion that she must have given  birth to twins conceived with two different men.  There were questions raised around the Garda  s  handling of the case  and their treatment of the family.  Each member of the family had different accounts of  the night in question and it was suspected that the  Garda  used force and coercion to get the statements  from them.  As the case progressed  Ms. Hayes was continually  challenged in court  and her sexual history brought into  question. The father of her baby was revealed to be a  married man and therefore Ms. Hayes was painted as a  Scarlet Woman who tempted her lover away from his  wife. Every aspect of her life was dissected and paraded  around in full view of the public  prompting an outcry  from women all over the country. Busloads of women  from all over the country came down to Kerry to  support her and her family  and well wishers sent  flowers and cards.  While all this was going on though  history was in the  making  Catholic Ireland was about to change forever.  While the Catholic Church staunchly opposed the use of  contraception  the State was considering legalising it;  people were already smuggling condoms and packets of  the pill in from Northern Ireland. The Irish were having  sex whether the Catholic Church liked it or not and  with contraception available  hopefully  no other  woman would have to go through what Joanne Hayes  had to go through. So  on the 14th February 1985 the  purchase of condoms was legalised  however  chemists  didn t have to stock them if they didn t want to and they  were only available to married couples. It wasn t  perfect but it was a start.  Our Ireland today is a far cry from the Ireland back  then. Women aren t treated like second class citizens  anymore and attitudes are a lot more liberal. We ve  even got advertisements for contraception on television.  It s a disgrace that Joanne Hayes had to go through  what she went through; however  something good did  come out of it. The voices of the people were heard and  thankfully Ireland was dragged out of the dark ages and  started to progress into a modern state.  This is a great book for everyone to read  but it s  especially great for children of the 80s and 90s who  won t remember that time. From reading this I got an  insight into what Ireland was like back then and I can  see how much things have changed for the better. This  book is heartbreaking in parts but history was made  around this time and I ve enjoyed learning about it  I  think you will too.

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