Sunday 24 September 2017

Paedophile priest sang as he abused me, says victim

John Cooney

A VICTIM of jailed paedophile priest Tony Walsh yesterday spoke for the first time of how the depraved ex-cleric sang a song while sexually abusing him.

Niall, not his real name, told the Irish Independent he was one of hundreds of working-class children abused in Ballyfermot, Dublin, by the "most notorious child abuser" to come before the Commission of Investigation led by Judge Yvonne Murphy.

He broke his silence as Justice Minister Dermot Ahern received the Murphy Report on a litany of child abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne, Co Cork.

"I was one of the many victims you'll never hear about," Niall said yesterday.

"Seeing his face all over the newspapers last week made me feel dirty again," Niall added. "It was him. It was 'Father' Walsh. It brought back what I had shut out of my mind.

"I didn't go to work. I stayed in bed for most of the day remembering the song he used to sing as he was having his way with me. Everyone else loves that song except me, and nobody knows why."

That song was 'Too Shy' by 1980s band Kajagoogoo.

Walsh, an Elvis impersonator in a priests' singing group, sang this to encourage victims not to resist his advances.

Niall, now in his mid-30s, recalled his sexual abuse, which began in the De La Salle primary school on Ballyfermot Road in the early 1980s when he was only eight or nine.

On the pretext of hearing confessions, Walsh would come into the class, pick a boy and take him to another building.

Unsuspecting

There he walked down a school corridor to a small room which was used for prayers. He turned the latch and locked the door from the inside. The screams of boys could not be heard.

Walsh had a few "regulars". On quite a few occasions he selected Niall, whom previously outside the church after Mass he patted on the head and tickled in front of his unsuspecting parents.

It was during confession that Walsh's relationship with Niall became physical.

"He invited me to sit on his lap, saying it was cold and we should have a cuddle. He put his hands into my shirt and pants. I was too young to know about sex but I knew it was wrong."

Before letting Niall return to his class, Walsh said: "What happened between us is between God. God will be angry if you tell anyone."

On one occasion, Niall tried to break away from Walsh.

"I tried to get off his lap, but he tightened his grip and his voice was shaking.

"'Never say no to a priest,' he commanded.

"He made me take my trousers down. One hand came straight into my underwear groping my genitals and with his fingers on his other hand he invaded me from behind.

"It was just awful. I hoped it would not last too long. Thankfully, I was never fully raped, but others were."

Academically bright and working in a good job, Niall has found it difficult to relate to women.

"Walsh made sex dirty for me. I don't have what I crave -- a wife and kids," he said. "On the outside I appear normal, but inside I'm screaming with the shame and guilt of Walsh."

Looking back some 30 years, Niall questions why teachers never asked why it was the same boys Walsh picked for confessions, ignoring chubby boys.

"The teachers could have gone to the gardai with their suspicions," he said.

Irish Independent

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