eCite Digital Repository

Motherhood Murder, and the Media: Joanne Hayes and the Kerry Babies Case


Goc, NE, Motherhood Murder, and the Media: Joanne Hayes and the Kerry Babies Case, Mediating Moms: Mothers in Popular Culture, McGill-Queens University Press, E Podnieks (ed), Canada, pp. 125-143. ISBN 978-0-7735-3980-8 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 McGill-Queens University Press

Official URL:


The discovery of the dead babyís remains on the rocky shores of the west coast of Ireland in the spring of 1984 was the start of a tragic series of events which would coalesce to create a watershed moment for women in Irish society in what would become forever known as the "Kerry Babies Case." The complex tale of one young parturient Irish woman, Joanne Hayes, and two dead, newborn babies came at a moment in Irish history when a heated national debate on contraception and abortion was being played out in the Irish parliament and the media, and when questions of garda corruption were at the forefront of public consciousness. This study analyses the media coverage of the case through Irelandís two major daily newspapers, the Irish Independent and the Irish Press, and Irelandís major Sunday newspaper The Sunday Independent to expose the ways in which the media created a compelling and prejudicial discourse that maintained a binary framing of the maternal subject as both madonna and whore, a framing which continues to be the preferred way in which the news media make sense of the infanticidal mother.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:news media, maternal, infanticide, representation
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Journalism studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Goc, NE (Dr Nicola Goc)
ID Code:77536
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2012-04-27
Last Modified:2018-02-17
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page