Mother tells how priest abused her son

By Patsy McGarry
Irish Times
October 22, 2002

A mother whose son was abused in 1994 by defrocked priest Tony Walsh has said she had yet to be contacted by the Dublin archdiocese authorities in relation to the abuse.

Yesterday "Anne" told Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio's Liveline programme that the incident happened in the toilet of a pub after her father's funeral in Palmerstown, Co Dublin. Her son was aged 12.

Walsh had come to the removal the previous evening also, and she understood he was a friend of her father's sister-in-law.

The priest was not wearing a Roman collar, but was in casual, black attire. She had known nothing about the priest or his history.

Later she claimed the local parish priest had said he knew Walsh was suspended but didn't want to embarrass anyone by asking him to leave.

"Something should have been said. It would have saved an awful lot afterwards," she said. She had only just heard that the local priest had known at the time that Walsh was suspended and it made her "very angry" not to have been told.

"Anne" recalled meeting Walsh with her son about a year previously.

Her son had remarked to her then that there was something strange about the priest.

He had been followed into the toilet by the priest and could feel him kissing the back of his neck.

They were back in the pub about two hours after her father's burial when her son came rushing to her "like a ghost and shaking", she recalled.

By coincidence she and her sister has been just been discussing Walsh. "That priest, that priest, he won't leave me alone," she remembered the boy saying.

She calmed him down and they went looking for Walsh, but he had left the pub as soon as the incident had taken place in the toilets.

Two days later she went to the Gardaí and explained what had happened. They took the matter very seriously and Walsh was arrested and charged with assault on the boy.

The case was heard by Judge Gillian Hussey. The boy was a very strong witness, she recalled. Walsh received the maximum sentence then available to the court, of one year.

He faced further charges two years later. "Anne" said there had been "no apology, absolutely nothing" from the archdiocese then or since. There had been "no contact from anybody" there, she added.



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