Priest Kicked Out of Swim Centre
By Jimmy Cunningham
September 15, 2007
A PERVERT priest has been booted out of the country's top swimming centre after he was spotted by an alert dad.
Defrocked cleric Tony Walsh had been found guilty in 1997 of a series of indecent assaults on young boys in the 1980s.
Walsh, who was kicked out of the priesthood in 1993, was attending the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin.
But a concerned father from Walsh's former parish in Ballyfermot, Dublin, spotted him and alerted staff.
Dubliner Derek, 37, told the Irish Daily Mirror how he was "gobsmacked" when he saw Walsh queuing up.
He said: "I couldn't believe he was going into a swimming pool frequented by children. "I immediately informed staff and they checked his name. He was signed in under Anthony Walsh.
"He is a very dangerous man. It's amazing how little he has changed in recent years. His beard is shaved and he is a little greyer but I'd spot Walsh from the moon."
A National Aquatic Centre source said: "We never knew it was him until it was pointed out to us. We are very upset Walsh was here. The law is a complete ass given perverts don't have to tell us who they are. We took him at face value."
Derek said swimming centre staff had phoned back a few days later to say the shamed ex-priest's membership had been revoked and gardai notified.
He added: "I just wanted people to know who he was and that he shouldn't be near children.
"People should know Tony Walsh is in their area. This guy has a horrific reputation."
Praising the National Aquatic Centre, Derek said: "They deserve a pat on the back for the speed they dealt with this."
Gardai would not confirm whether they were probing Walsh's presence at the baths.
A spokesman said: "We do not comment on individual cases."
The swimming centre's operations director David Conway said complaints were taken seriously and investigated.
He added: "In the event of a valid complaint the centre will take appropriate action which could include the revoking of a membership."
Walsh pleaded guilty in 1997 to 12 charges of indecently assaulting six boys aged from eight to 14.
The offences occurred when he was curate at Our Lady of the Assumption church between 1980 and 1986.
While in Ballyfermot, Walsh was in charge of 60 altar boys as well as the children's mass each week.
Locals claimed he was outwardly "charming" and was dubbed "the singing priest".
Walsh was eventually defrocked by a three-man church tribunal in 1992.
The pervert was also found guilty of sexually assaulting a 12- year-old boy in a pub toilet in Palmerstown, Co Dublin in 1995.
Walsh received the maximum sentence then available to the court of one year in jail.
DO you know the whereabouts of Tony Walsh. Please contact the Irish Daily Mirror on 01 8688605.
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