Chapter 19

If you want to give yourself a shock, just search for Tony Walsh on Google News and behold the torrent of Irish coverage. Then start to read some of it. Read Mary Raftery’s article in the Irish Times.

Archbishops, bishops, chancellors, vicars general, parish priests – the list of senior clerics who knew of Walsh’s serial sexual abuse of children is virtually endless. From the very first complaints brought to the archdiocese, a bare two days after Walsh’s ordination in 1978, and for the succeeding 17 years, these pillars of the church sat on their detailed knowledge of Walsh’s abominable predations on children, shielding him from the law, deliberately deciding to keep his crimes hidden from the civil authorities. In the course of those 17 years, until the archdiocese finally decided in 1995 to co-operate with Garda investigations, Walsh abused well over 100 children according to the chapter published yesterday. Here we find out that archbishops Dermot Ryan, Kevin McNamara and Desmond Connell all had detailed knowledge of Walsh’s criminal activities.

Bishop Eamonn Walsh (a trained barrister, incidentally) was sufficiently well-aware of the criminal nature of Walsh’s activities to know that he should be reported to the Garda; and second, that Bishop Walsh did not report him, and nor of course did any of his fellow bishops. It consequently shows an extraordinary detachment from reality for Bishop Walsh to have claimed last year that merely suggesting that gardaí be informed of crimes committed in some way excuses or exonerates him from responsibility for his part in the culture of cover-up in the Dublin archdiocese.

Senior people. Masses of them. With detailed knowledge of what Walsh was doing. And they sat on it. For seventeen years.


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