Murphy Commission Report — Chapter 19 Tony Walsh. Summary

Chronology of a clerical rapist in Ireland

I have tried to summarise chronologically the recently published chapter 19 from the Murphy Report on the serial sex-abuser priest Tony Walsh, so that it can be digested more easily.

Sometimes, as I went through the report, I was so horrified or disbelieving that I highlighted something in boldface so that I could come back to it.  For example, I was staggered at the evidence of a Garda in 1991 who, even though a priest had told him about a church inquiry into a sex abuser, was able to say that no specific complaint of sex abuse had been made.  This garda informed a priest that there was no question of a prosecution and subsequently gave evidence to a diocesan inquiry, but never tried to have the rapist arrested.

As you read through this chronology, you might find yourself astounded at the inability of the bishops and priests to recognise that they were dealing with a serious criminal.  You might be astounded at the attitude of Gerard Sheehy: to crown my depression, Bishop Walsh made the outrageous suggestion that the Archbishop should inform the civil  authorities. Monsignor Sheehy was reacting to the notion that a child-rapist might be reported to the police.

Bishop Eamon Walsh, the man who tentatively suggested reporting the rapist to the police, is a qualified barrister. He remains convinced he did nothing wrong, even though he acquiesced with a decision not to inform the civil authorities that an employee of the diocese was routinely raping children. Indeed, he claims credit:

I wasn’t a month in the job as a bishop, and I stood up at a meeting and I said that not alone should the police, who were already informed about an individual, but we should say where he was living and the number of his car, because I felt he was a danger.

In other words, this barrister, who knew that Tony Walsh was a danger to children, stood up and suggested letting the police know. When the other men at the meeting decided not to tell the police about a dangerous rapist, Bishop Eamon Walsh, a lawyer, sat down again and did no more about it.

Clearly, this bishop inhabits the same moral vacuum as his colleagues.

Sheehy was both a canon and a civil lawyer, but his contempt for the laws of the State is clear: I think it  important that every one of us should at this stage avoid any excessive reaction – no matter what the civil law may say.

At this remove, it seems astounding that anyone should think like that. No matter what the civil law might say. Is there any way of interpreting that phrase other than as a rejection of the  law of the land?

You might be stunned at the fact that, throughout this entire saga, the church authorities were primarily concerned with avoiding trouble for themselves, and at no stage displayed the slightest concern for the children Walsh had raped.  As the Commission report puts it: the welfare of children simply did  not arise for consideration.

I was most surprised by the level of trust that the parents of the priests’ victims placed in the Dublin diocese, trust which turned out to be grossly misplaced, since the diocese and its servants had not the slightest interest in protecting these people or their children from the rapists who were a part of the clerical apparatus.

It appears that everyone in the Dublin diocese knew for years that Walsh was a rapist.  All the Archbishops knew it.  All the auxiliary bishops knew it.   The diocesan administrator jknew it full well.  Many of the priests knew it.

And yet, not one of these men who took it upon themselves to tell the general population what was moral, and in particular who claimed to have great authority in matters of a sexual nature, could see any personal obligation to stop the rapist by reporting his crimes to the police.

These same men who, day in and day out were lecturing their adult parishioners about trivia such as contraception, were unable to act in the best interest of children who were being abused in a monstrous way by one of their own.

Section 1.77 of the report, which was also redacted, clearly shows that Dublin priests were operating a paedophile ring:

Fr Carney and Fr McCarthy abused children during their visits to children’s homes. They also brought children on holidays and shared accommodation with two separate complainants. A boy who was initially abused by Fr McCarthy was subsequently abused by Fr Carney.

Fr Carney abused children at swimming pools and was sometimes accompanied to swimming pools by Fr Maguire.  Altar boys trips to Clonliffe College were originally started by Bill Carney and Francis McCarthy and were taken over by Fr Walsh. There were complaints of abuse during those visits.

Before he got his own room in the presbytery in Ballyfermot, Fr Walsh used Fr Reynolds’s room in Kilmore to abuse victims. Fr Reynolds had given him a key.

That’s Carney, McCarthy, Reynolds.Maguire and Walsh, all abusing the same boys.

A paedophile ring of Dublin priests.

I think it’s important to point out one salient fact.  The Murphy Commission did not carry out a thorough investigation of every abusing priest in the Dublin archdiocese.  It took only a representative sample

After the events described in the report, Walsh was jailed again on the 6th December last for further crimes.

Reports HERE

Chapter 19    Fr Tony Walsh

1972-1978 Walsh trains for priesthood.Abuses children during training.  Has key to house of another clerical abuser, Noel Reynolds.
1978 Walsh ordained.Appointed to Ballyfermot parish.Parents of 8-year-old boy complain to priest of Walsh sexually abusing their child  in Reynolds’s house the previous month.  Priest nots “the  parents are most responsible people and there is no danger of publicity”.Monsignor Glennon accepts Walsh’s denials, and no further action is taken.
1979 Mother of a 14-year-old boy reports abuse by Walsh in Ballyfermot in 1978 and 1979 and subsequently contacts parish priest of Ballyfermot, Val Rogers.  Fr Michael Cleary, goes to the boy’s house to educate him on male sexuality.No further acion taken.In 1985, Rogers tells Stenson the incident was  “hushed up”.
1980-82 Youth coordinator  complains to Archdiocese about Walsh sexually abusing young girls.  No action taken.
1984 Donal O’Doherty becomes PP of Ballyfermot.  Receives “veiled warning” about Walsh from bishop Dermot Ryan.
1985 Monsignor Stenson interviews Seven priests aware of Walsh’s abuse.  O’Doherty describes catching Walsh abusing altar boy.Stenson dismisses reports of abuse as “ill-informed gossip”.
April 1985 Parents inform Stenson that Walsh sexually abused their daughter.Parents of 14-yr-old boy complain about Walsh making frequent visits to their son. Monsignor Stenson noted that the priest and the family “do  not know if there was anything more to it than that”.  Stenson notes: “Given the track record such behaviour was  suspicious and very imprudent”.
Stenson interviews Walsh who “denied nothing”.Walsh admits abusing boy in Ballyfermot and another boy in Wicklow.Stenson suggests seeing a psychiatrist.   Bishop MacNamara informed.Psychiatrist reports being cautiously optimistic that Walsh will respond to treatment using “the re-orientation method to channel the drive appropriately”
October 1985 Parent reports assault on young girl to O’Doherty, PP in Ballyfermot.B O’Mahony tells Stenson, who informs psychiatrist.  No further inquiries are made.Walsh moved to new parish at Westland Row.   Bishop writes, thanking him for his dedicated work in the parish.
February 1986 Walsh starts in Westland Row.Parish priest not informed that Walsh is a child abuser.
Mother of 1979 complainant contacts Stenson due to Walsh’s continued career with All-Priests Show.  He notes : “I was impressed by this woman who is  obviously a concerned person and who is distressed by what has happened  to her son  […].  I would also be of the opinion that she was not out to cause  trouble or obtain money”.Stenson asks Walsh to reconsider his involvement in  entertainment and public appearances.  Walsh continues performing.
January 1987 Housekeeper in Westland  Row finds items of her  underwear in Walsh’s room, which have been “used”.   She also finds  condoms and syringes in his room.  She reports that a number of boys had slept overnight in Walsh’s bed and a boy  from Ballyfermot had been visiting.  Monsignor Stenson notes that he has “no doubt about her truthfulness”.   When these allegations are put to him,  Walsh denies them and further says he does not know what condoms are like.
April 1988 Woman alleges to a Ballyfermot priest that Walsh had her son in the Westland Row presbytery.
May 1988 Parents complain that Walsh sexually abused their daughter.Stenson interviews Walsh and records that “for the first time he really opened up”.Walsh admits to abusing a child about once a fortnight. [Commission notes that Walsh minimised the extent of his activities.]Stenson records that Walsh is shocked to discover how much information the diocese has on file about him.  He discusses Walsh’s “difficulties” with him and promises to apologise to the parents.After meeting the parents, Stenson notes “[The father] said that he would not like  [Walsh] to suffer  because of one misdemeanour.  They pray for him and hope he can get help.  I was greatly impressed by this couple.  They were extremely kind and  concerned.  I did not indicate that there was a history of this behaviour”.

Walsh writes out an account of his “difficulties”, mentioning only instances of abuse which have resulted in complaints.  According to the Commission, it minimises the extent of the  abuse by using phrases like “sat on my lap” and “wrestled playfully on my bed  with him”.

June 1988 Walsh removed from Westland Row and sent to Stroud for treatment.
Stroud therapist reports that Walsh appears more realistic about his  situation than other similar men.A month later, another report states “[Walsh] is ‘extremely  compulsive – there have been an awful lot of children involved  he is a very  disturbed man  He is always going to be dangerous.  He could not be let near  schools, children, Confession without a grille etc…’
November 1988 Final report.  Stroud considers that Walsh had been honest.  However, that under no  circumstances should he have any apostolate involving children.  He should  also receive further counselling. He should permanently abstain from drink.Shortly  afterwards his personal therapist rings Stenson and states that Walsh was the best patient he had seen.
Walsh signs contract with diocese:• “I will not be involved in any apostolate which involves children;• I understand that under no circumstances must I make any physical  contact with a child beyond a handshake in a public place;• I will not be alone with a child;• I understand that the priests with whom I am stationed will be aware of  the general nature of my difficulty and they will have the right to  discuss any areas of anxiety about the way I am relating, especially to  children; …

• I will not visit the Ballyfermot area under any circumstances.”

Walsh appointed to assist chaplain in hospital for old people.Accommodation in Halston St.All priests in presbytery aware of his history.
1989 Walsh starts counselling with priest-psychotherapist.  Therapist believes Walsh’s statement that he never raped children.Stroud reports Walsh unhappy with contract and wishes to return to Ballyfermot.Therapist asks “how likely [was he] to repeat his actions and constitute a risk to  children and, by extension to the church”.The Archdiocese attempted to find a location which would reduce the risk to children as much as possible.
August 1989 Walsh takes child into his car and kisses him.  After complaint from parents, Walsh visits child’s home.
Regional marriage tribunal already has two known clerical sexual abusers working in it.  Suggestion is made to Monsignor Sheehy, the  judicial vicar, that he might take Walsh into the tribunal.    Sheehy declines on the basis that Fr Walsh’s limited intellectual  capacity might lead him to become frustrated.
December 1989 Psychiatrist’s report says Walsh has made no progress.
January 1990 Psychotherapist recommends appointment to post where Walsh has no involvement with children.
Diocese informed that Walsh has been visiting scouts.Walsh refused permission to tour Britain with The Holy Show.
April 1990 Archbishop Connell and Stenson offer Walsh two options: voluntary laicisation  or dismissal.Sheehy opposes dismissal and writes to bishop warning of “minefield”.  Asks bishop to keep letter from Stenson.
After one meeting, attended by Archbishop Connell, Stenson, bishops Kavanagh, O’Mahony and Murray, Sheehy notes as follows:probably the most depressing meeting that I have ever attended.      There was not a single word, from anyone, about the fact that we are dealing with a disordered person. The whole thrust was: ‘how best can  we get rid of him?’ … To crown my depression, Bishop Walsh made the outrageous suggestion that the Archbishop should inform the civil  authorities about Fr [Walsh’s] homosexual orientation.Bishop Eamonn Walsh told the Commission that his concern related to Walsh’s paedophile orientation and not his sexuality in general.
September 1990 Walsh granted a year’s leave of absence. Not allowed to practise any ministry or wear clerical clothes.  Walsh to live in a rehabilitation  centre outside Dublin.
January 1991 Walsh back in Dublin and living in Halston Street.   Stenson discovers this by chance in a  conversation with Rogers who did not  want Monsignor Stenson to tell the archbishop.
February 1991 Stenson tells Walsh that there would be no future for  him in ministry and that he should “start planning constructively for the future”.
March 1991 Scout leader and parent inform diocese that Walsh is back in Dublin.   Walsh had been seen with a  boy in his car and was calling frequently to this boy’s house.   Monsignor  Stenson made inquiries with professionals about what to do in respect of this  boy as there were concerns but no complaint or evidence of abuse.   A short  time later, the mother of this boy asked questions about Fr Walsh and she  was told by another priest that he was a danger to children.
May 1991 Walsh is sent to stay in Mellifont Abbey under supervision.
Stenson tells Walsh, that everyone is  sick and tired of him “calling the shots”.   If Walsh does not apply for laicisation, the penal process to dismiss him will be  set in train.Walsh writes to Connell:  “I don’t know very much about the kind of process Msgr Stenson  talked about, except that it seems to be some kind of enquiry board  which might listen to me, even if it might in the long run dismiss me.  So I agree to cooperate with the board or process if it will let me state my own case before it and let me have some people to explain my  side of the story and give me a fair trial”.
March 1991 Bishops decide at meeting to institute a penal  process.   They also discussed informing the Gardaí  but fail to do so.
June 1991 Stenson meets young man from Ballyfermot  who complains that he had been abused by Fr Walsh in 1980/1981 when he  was about 12.  This complainant tells Stenson that Walsh had started to  frequent Ballyfermot again around 1990 and was continuing to do so.
August 1991 Walsh meets Stenson and refuses to  go to the therapeutic centre in the UK stating that he was happy with his  current therapist.After leaving this meeting, Walsh approaches a young boy in  the neighbourhood and, asks him to get  into the car. The boy immediately goes  home and the next day when Walsh calls to the house, the boy’s mother calls the Gardaí.
Mellifont priest informs Gardaí that Walsh was staying there because of  numerous allegations of paedophilia.  Gardaí do not investigate this statement.According to the Commission: The Archdiocese took the fact that Fr Walsh had now come to the attention of the Gardaí far more seriously than the Gardaí did.According to Stenson:Apparently  [a garda] from Whitehall Garda Station had been  looking for a Fr [Walsh] with an address at Mellifont. [Walsh] had  approached a child and the mother had complained to the  Police.  …  I rang  [the garda] and explained who I was and what I had  heard. I asked if he could provide details.  He did but wondered if  [Walsh] had a record.  I evaded that but told him to proceed with  whatever steps he thought he should take.Stenson told the Commission that he acted within the bounds of  his oath of secrecy as chancellor.
September 1991 Archbishop orders Walsh to live in St John of God psychiatric hospital until going to the UK.  The night before he is  due to enter the hospital, he tries to get  a boy aged 11 ninto his car.  The boy refused.  He then follows the boy home and tries to persuade his sister that the boy should go out with  him.  The family called the Gardaí.
The investigating Garda phones Stenson because another complaint has been received at a different station.  Gardaí had received a complaint a year earlier but had done nothing except report it to the boy’s headmaster.Stenson notes: “[the garda] assured me that there was ‘no question of prosecution”The garda, in his report written some 11 years later, stated that  Stenson told him the Church was carrying out an internal  investigation into the paedophile activities of Walsh and that he had asked  for the garda’s  co-operation.Fr (later bishop) Willie Walsh  called to Whitehall station stating that he had been appointed to carry out an  internal investigation into the paedophile activities of Fr Walsh.  Willie Walsh was the presiding judge in the Church penal process being undertaken  at that time.  The garda gave him details of the incident in August.  The garda  report stated that neither Monsignor Stenson nor Fr Willie Walsh made any  report of a criminal nature concerning the activities of Fr Walsh or any other  priest.According to the Commission, for all practical purposes, any garda  investigation into Fr Walsh’s activities ceased at this point even though by  nowthey were aware of three incidents of suspicious behaviour.   Stenson’s failure to tell of the other known  allegations meant that they were, as yet, unaware of the  bigger problem.
Walsh difficult and unco-operative in  St John of God’s.
November-December 1991 Walsh in UK clinic.Clinic reports that he  admitted to abusing 100 boys.  The report outlines the classic picture of a  paedophile grooming children, then abusing them and minimising the impact  of his behaviour.
Walsh returns to Dublin to live with sister.
January 1992 Walsh returns to UK for  intensive course.Walsh permitted to roam the streets of the nearby large city unsupervised.   He dresses in clerical attire and introduces himself to local clergy, saying Mass in local churches.  He visits a house and offers to baby-sit.  By chance, the father of the children calls to the clinic.  Walsh immediately  ejected from the clinic and returns to Dublin.
April 1992 Church penal process.Walsh admits to abusing five named  individuals and to approximately 100 instances of abuse in respect of ten  unnamed children.  He says that he had had another 80, 90 or possibly 100  children sitting on his knee in Ballyfermot.  When questioned further on this,  he agrees that he was sexually aroused when the children were sitting on his  knee.  As the Commission states, this is child sexual abuse.Among the other people who give evidence at the penal process  are  a number of parents of complainants, the garda involved in the 1991  concerns and the psychologist who was treating Fr Walsh.Mother of the  1979 complainant gives evidence but is not told what the penal process is.  In or around 1995, Bishop Willie Walsh who had been the presiding judge meets the woman and apologises
July 1992 Walsh grooms a 15-year-old boy whose parent is a Garda.  The parent complains to a priest.
A Westland Row priest complains that Walsh has returned to the parish.  Stenson asks the priest to contact a Garda superintendent who is a friend of the priest and ask him to “keep an eye” on Walsh.
September 1992 Walsh complains of persecution.
December 1992 A couple report to Stenson that Walsh had been calling to their home and one day they discovered their ten-year-old son sitting on his lap.  Stenson warns them to keep Walsh away from  their son.  A few days later one of the parents tells Stenson that Walsh had called into the local scouts meeting stating that he was “attached  to Clonliffe”.   Monsignor Stenson reports this to the bishops.
May 1993 Stenson receives a letter from another about  Walsh’s abuse of a young girl and rumours about his behaviour with altar boys.
August 1993 Penal process recommends dismissal of Walsh from priesthood.
October 1993 Walsh appeals verdict to Rome.He claims that he had not abused children since 1988 and considers  the punishment too harsh.
May 1994 A young boy complains to the Gardaí in Ballyfermot that he had  been sexually assaulted by Walsh in the toilet of a pub following the funeral  of the boy’s grandfather.  The family alleged that a similar incident had  happened a year earlier but they did not report it at the time.Gardaí  contact Stenson.  Walsh refuses to answer any questions.  The Gardaí tell  Stenson of  their intention to arrest Fr Walsh.  They also tell him that they are  in the  process of “linking of various skeletons” and that press are “sniffing out a  story”.Walsh denies the allegation.
June 1994 Rome upholds appeal.  Walsh to remain a priest provided he enter a monastery for ten years.
December 1994 A mother  of boys who had been abused by Walsh calls Stenson to say  that her son is  suicidal and that Walsh had been babysitting in recent  weeks.Stenson advises her to tell  the Gardaí.This case is  reported to the Gardaí.
Stenson tells Walsh that:

  • He is  still a priest of the Archdiocese answerable to the Archbishop.He is not to wear clerical dress.
  • He is  banned from being alone with a child.
  • He is not to mislead people that he  is  attached to the  Archbishop’s House, the Marriage Tribunal, Clonliffe College or the  library.
  • If he does not comply, his financial  situation will be reviewed.
Sheehy advises Archbishop Connell as follows:I think it  important that every one of us should at this stage avoid any excessive reaction – no matter what the civil law may say. Least of all should we pay any  real attention to the money-making posturing of the media”.
1995 Walsh admits to the Gardaí that he had indecently  assaulted two boys in the 1980s.  He denies sexually assaulting either of the brothers whose mother had recently been in touch with Stenson.
February 1995 Walsh charged in the District  Court with sexual assault in relation to the May 1994 complainant – the boy  who had been molested after his grandfather’s funeral.  Walsh pleads not  guilty.  He is convicted and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.  He  appeals both conviction and sentence.  The appeal was subsequently  withdrawn when he is convicted of further offences in December 1997.
May 1995 The Archdiocese contact the Gardaí and tell them  about the other complaints which had come to the attention of other garda  stations.   Archbishop Connell instructed Monsignor Stenson to contact  known complainants to make them aware that Walsh was facing criminal  charges and to empower them to make complaints to the Gardaí.
July 1995 Walsh charged with further sexual offences in the  District Court.  Case adjourned to allow the Gardaí pursue further  investigations.
November 1995 Gardaí tell Stenson that all  garda stations have been asked to collate all cases concerning Walsh.Archdiocese now reporting all complaints to the  Gardaí.  Complainants being offered counselling.Connell writes to Pope: “The  Archbishop humbly begs the Holy Father graciously to grant him this favour in  the interests of the well-being of the Church”.
January 1996 Ratzinger dismisses Walsh from priesthood.
February 1996 DPP directs trial on indictment regarding six complainants.
June 1997 Walsh pleads guilty concerning four complainants, and not guilty to four more.
November 1997 The 1979 complainant contacts  the Archdiocese and highlights the inadequate  response of Bishop Kavanagh.  He  says that further abuses could have been avoided.   Monsignor Dolan meets this man and his mother.
December 1997 Walsh pleads  guilty to approximately 12 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency in  respect of six boys.
March 2002 Walsh released from prison.
October 2002 Prime Time Cardinal Secrets programme broadcast.  Further complainants emerge.
The housekeeper in Fr Walsh’s house in Ballyfermot tells the Gardaí that there were always young children in the house and that on one  occasion she was met by two young boys coming out of Fr Walsh’s bedroom.She says that she told another priest who lived in the house of her concerns,  but he did not say anything in response.   On another occasion she recalls Michael Cleary breaking into Walsh’s room and having an argument with  him, but she did not know what that argument was about.
Commission Findings By 1985, the  Archdiocese knew that he was a serial abuser.  His transfer to Westland Row  was clearly an attempt to avoid further scandal in Ballyfermot.  There was an  established clear danger to children and yet the welfare of children simply did  not arise for consideration.The Commission finds it unacceptable that two gardaí who had  concerns about Fr Walsh in 1990 and in 1992 failed to pursue a thorough  criminal investigation.  When a criminal investigation of sorts got under way in  1991, it was effectively shelved because the Church was carrying out its own  penal process.  The Commission recognises that there was no specific  complaint before the Gardaí at that stage but there were at least three  instances of concern.

36 thoughts on “Murphy Commission Report — Chapter 19 Tony Walsh. Summary

  1. Not really. The information is in the public domain and published on a government website. I’m just knocking it into a shape that my brain can process.

  2. I’m afraid my brain can’t process it Bock. Walsh was a very sick man but you have to wonder about the people around him. They were just as sick. They didn’t give a fuck about protecting kids , just their own necks. And the Guards just didn’t want to be bothered either. There really are no words to describe how I feel for the kids who had the misfortune to end up abused by this sick man.

    It’s interesting to read that some parents had the balls to call the Guards when he was acting suspicious. That they didn’t place blinding trust in him because of he was a priest I pretty much said on a previous post that I didn’t understand parents turning a blind eye after the abuse had happened and I was shot down by yourself and another commenter.. that that wasn’t the done thing back then. Good to see it was with some though. That they had weren’t afraid to report him.

    20 years of the pervert abusing before a stop is put to it. What the fuck is wrong with people? And I don’t want an explanation of afraid of authority etc. It’s not enough for the victims IMO.

  3. I don’t care what the fuck he was. It’s the people around him that knew that bother me even more than him. Obliging non trouble making parents. Cops that weren’t arsed. Bishops, other priests that just cared about their own reputation. There’s something wrong with them all. Call them sick or evil or stupid.. there are no words for some of it.

  4. Why is there such little visible repugnance for what these monsters have done ?
    Why are people still going to Churches ?
    We may have little visible power as to the imposition of present Government but we have complete power with regard the Catholic Church and what it has hidden and represented, Why isn’t that power exercised ?

  5. This is just one of many, many hundreds of thousands of cases world wide, of clergy assaulting children, of brutality, sexual predation, bullying, psychological torture and neglect.

    That doesn’t make it any better, indeed it makes it worse. Because there’s something of intent, that it should persist for so long, that a refusal to confront such a horrific abuse sustained itself, in spite of evidence.

    The intent was to preserve power at the very least. It may have also been a policy to ensure that enough people of every generation are traumatised, from which group new abusers would be groomed… The Vatican has operated as a temporal power for most of it’s history and it’s tactics are those of any state power; it’s skills are the same, it’s flow of power is the same, it’s willingness to make deals with anyone is the same (The Vatican made a deal with Hitler….)

    The Irish people are living in denial, and have been for some time, if not ever since the first Christians or Normans arrived…. but the denial is that of those who have lived through trauma, who survived but yet passed some of that unresolved wounding onto their children, generation after generation. And so the cycles continue. This is partly ensured by conditioning and indoctrination.

    It is hard to understand how fear of the devil (an illusion) was so deep, that people felt their only protection was the Church. It is hard to understand the mind-set that accepts the concept of original sin. It IS hard to comprehend a parent who does not protect his or her children, even if they were fearful of the State, the Church….. But not too long ago it was considered normal to beat children, quite brutally…. you will meet folk who even still will show no empathy fo rthe child they were and will say that the beatings they received made them the men or women thay are today, and were ‘good’ for them. Now that’s what I call Rationalisation IV!

    But for Gardai, Bishops and others there is no desire on my part to comprehend, no need because it is simply all about Power. And they are so culpable.

    And this is what the Irish Government, the Gardia Siochana, The Health Boards, Social Services fear the most. They all knew. So too the Vatican. They are cuplable. They all knew. They did nothing. By doing so they enabled yet more abusers. 100% knowingly.

    The Redress deals made have all been well worked out – these people plan, and plan deeply.

    The plan was designed to get both Government and Vatican off the hook – the redress money was going to do the trick… or so they hoped…

    There’s so much more to come. Inquiries into every dioscese’s have yet to be carried out. The secret papers of The Vatican have yet to be leaked. (don’t hold yer breath on this one!)

    There’ so much more to come, and come it will and it will keep coming until people’s hearts awaken and it will need to keep coming until such time, as a people, we can say – Our children are safe! and know that it is so.

    Anything less is weakness.

  6. War tactics should be applied to Irish Catholic abusers and those who covered up crimes
    By Mike Ference

    Every day brings new evidence that we no longer live in a civilized and principled society. The worst part, it usually concerns another case of sexual misconduct involving a Catholic priest, young children and a church hierarchy that helped to cover up the case.

    The recently unveiled chapter 19 of the 2,600-page report by the Irish Commission explaining the systematic practice of torture and molestation at the country’s labor and educational institutions run by the Catholic Church for decades clearly suggests that Catholic Church Hierarchy have certainly outlived any usefulness to society.

    And they still deny the heinous crimes and expect their weekly bounty of donations. But as more and more cases of abuse — and cover-up — come to light, one begins to wonder whether the Pope and his entourage of red hats should be considered any more trustworthy than, say, Saddam Hussein.

    So — what should be done now that we know it’s a pattern of terror orchestrated by the Catholic Church and repeated everywhere the dysfunctional sex freaks have established a church, school, hospital or other institution. Given the level of wreckage and anguish caused in the lives of so many people, it seems appropriate to look to the war on terror for a model strategy.

    A first prong of attack at the Vatican might involve a Special Forces unit made up of highly skilled and trained military personnel capable of tracking down and obtaining confessions from any current or former priests accused of acts of sexual abuse against children. If rights are violated, if military personnel sometimes go a little too far, so be it. The Catholic Church had ample opportunity to fess up and repent. Those incapable of civilized behavior shouldn’t expect the rights and privileges of civilization.

    A deck of cards can be created to help identify hard-to-find priests as well as the disgraceful church leaders who permitted, and in essence, condoned the sexual abuse of young children. Photos of the most deviant and reprehensible church officials accompanied by a list of their offenses will encourage us all to do our patriotic duty in helping the authorities track down suspected priest-terrorists or at least be able to identify the culprits as they come and go freely because their sins where covered up and the time to criminally prosecute has expired.

    Another option would be to divide the world into territories. A color-code warning system would be established, alerting parents about abusive priests being transferred into their respective regions. Depending on the designated color for a particular region, parents would know whether their children should serve at Mass, go on field trips, or even attend Catholic school that day.

    To aid this unique war on terror, a pool of money should be collected, not involuntarily from taxpayers, but voluntarily from those decent human beings who believe crimes committed against our children are sins that God takes very seriously. Some of the funds raised could then be turned into outrageously tempting reward sums for information leading to the capture of our targeted criminals. Once the rogue clerics have been imprisoned and forced to talk, I recommend that their confessions be given to someone like Steven Spielberg or George Romero. Hollywood writers and producers could create a blockbuster movie like Roots or Schindler’s List to serve as a bitter reminder that these crimes should never again be permitted to occur. Tom Savini could be hired to recreate the horror on the faces of child actors chosen to play parts.

    Proceeds from the movie could go to victims of abuse and their families. And no matter how old the crime, compensation would be available. There should be no statute of limitations when the rights of children have been violated by those who lived much of their adult lives perched on a pedestal heightened by the trust of innocent and vulnerable believers. In fact, I would extend compensation to the second and perhaps even third generation of sufferers. It would certainly include siblings denied the experience of growing up with a brother or sister untraumatized by such abuse. And since crimes of abuse tend to echo, it would extend to the victims of the victims as well.

    If all else fails, is it any less rational to declare war on the Catholic Church as part of a war on child abuse than it was to declare war on Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al-Qaeda and apparently had no weapons of mass destruction) as part of a war on terror? How many innocent children have been verifiably lost to this menace — and how many more will be lost if we don’t make a preemptive strike?

    As horrific as sexual abuse by priests may be, the perpetrators might merit a more forgiving place if only their superiors had the courage to do the right thing. For a few, counseling and close supervision might have been enough to prevent future abuses. Others clearly required something more intensive — a mental hospital or a prison.

    But repeated abuse, as well as willfully hiding the crimes and the criminals — as far as I can see, this brings us much closer to the realm of mortal sin. And the sinners include not just the church hierarchy, but also attorneys who ill-advised parents not to buck the system and take on the Catholic Church, or may even have provided inside information to thwart legitimate cases against the church, law enforcement officials who may have thought it best to warn church officials of pending investigations, and janitors, housekeepers, teachers, and employees of the Catholic Church who kept silent because of concerns about a paycheck, a 401K, a pension, or a fear of standing up to church authorities. God has a place for everyone — and if you abuse children or protect the abusers of children, we can only hope that your place is called hell.

    Mike Ference is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and investigative reporter who has been probing clergy abuse and government corruption in Pennsylvania for over 20 years. Mike may be reached at 412-233-5491 or email him at

  7. I was in a major U.S. Catholic seminary in the 90’s. We were clearly instructed to never ever snitch on a brother priest, no matter what he did. In addition, we were warned that if we did, we would be ostracized, and our lives (our priesthoods) would be made very difficult. Although many good men enter the seminary, many of them are indoctrinated into this mind-set. Many others also leave, simply because they will not be part of it, myself included. One who accepts this policy is referred to as a “well trained priest.”

    A lot of the cover up of criminal priests is the result of this training. The evil that takes place within the Church is obscured from the public by “smoke and mirrors.” It’s a magic show; similar to the brotherhood of magicians, “a well trained priest” never reveals how a trick is done to a layman. Once you understand how it’s done; it looses its mystique, it has no power over you. In the case of Church, once you see how it’s done, you see just how repulsive it is!

  8. (As an aside – a very knowledgeable friend of mine once commented that any human who could not express themselves sexually would inevitably go insane at some point. The Church could be a case in point there, but I find the corollary more interesting – may we assume that any sane Catholic priest is having sex at least somewhat regularly?)

    Although I expect this will be an unpopular stance to take, my default position is to look for the root cause of any problem, and to view even the worst of humanity with compassion.

    So, I still feel a little pity for Murphy and the other pedophile priests. Having read the report in full when it was released, it seems clear that these were men that were… broken, damaged inside in a way that made them want to abuse. The Church enabled them instead of getting them actual help, or putting them into a place (like prison) where they could not keep abusing. It held its own image above everything, even the sanity of its own sycophants.

    I don’t believe that they were intrinsically evil – such moral absolutes are highly unlikely – but they did evil things to the most innocent and vulnerable, and I lay the root of all they did at the feet of the Catholic Church. All their talk about a few bad apples is patently rubbish of the highest order, yet another farce in a long line of farces to desperately try to contain the PR fallout.

    Take a man who is dealing with abnormal sexual urges; feed him a philosophy where sex is vilified or shameful; throw him into a role where he must deny all sexual expression, healthy or otherwise; tell him he is a representative of a deity; give him power over the weak; make it clear he is above civil laws.

    But then, do not be too surprised when he becomes a monster.

  9. Claire. Even though some of the points in your post are controversial, It is worth examining.
    Are people who commit Evil Acts intrinsically evil ?
    At what point is the Evil act separate from the Evil person ?
    For someone to carry out such evil acts indicates a highly manipulative personality, Therefore ” Pity and Compassion ” Will be viewed by such a ” Personality ” as mere fodder to reinforce their own views of themselves.
    I dont believe at all that Paedophiles should be provided with an atom of pity but I do believe they should be forced to avail of all help in a very controlled environment where they do not have freedom to access children in any way, Depending on the individual that may be a strict drug controlled regime to supppress all sexual urges.
    During my own studies it was apparant that ” Reforming ” a paedophile to a state where he in no way poses a threat to children is nigh on an impossibility.

    I don’t want to take any of your comment out of context but are you suggesting that if celibacy was not imposed by the church there may be a lesser incidence of paedophilia ? Is there any evidence that clerical sex abusers commited such acts prior to entering a seminary ?

    Bock. To the best of my knowledge the incidence of Paedophilia by Irish clerical sex abusers across the world is, Yes, Disproportionatly high.

  10. Yeah from my own “studies” also, I’ve read that paedophilia cannot be cured.
    What to do with them? I wouldn’t really be too concerned that any punishment would be too severe.
    I wouldn’t have an ounce of sympathy for their ‘problem’. They chose to act upon it. They didn’t have an ounce of sympathy for their victims. – innocent kids.
    Neutralising them wouldn’t get rid of their psychological urges.
    I think their type are usually sorted out in prison. Here’s hoping anyways.

  11. By neutralising them, I mean making sure that they can never threaten a child again. I don’t care how that’s achieved, and I have no interest in helping them.

  12. Yeah. They really are beyond help Bock so no point in trying.
    I don’t want to judge the parents too much. But I really don’t understand how the man lived for so long once a parent found out what he did to their child.
    How could all these people turn a blind eye? It’s just as incomprehensible as the abuse itself.

  13. The response of the parents says a great deal about the society we constructed in this little island. I feel very sorry for them, as well as for their children.

  14. When I applied for a visa to go to Australia during the 80’s recession I had to get written references from a politician, priest, garda sgt and/or bank manager.

  15. As an Irishman resident in the US for 15 years I’ve been reading about the clerical child abuse scandal for some time now. I can comprehend the power and influence the Catholic church had in the Irish education system, and the inherent access priests had to their flock, so to speak. What I can’t comprehend is that Walsh got away with this level of serial abuse for so long. I too don’t want to judge the parents of these innocent children (I’ll make an exception for the parents who beat one of the unfortunate victims when he revealed Walsh was abusing him, that’s just unbelievable) but I don’t get why a parent of a child who reported abuse would not be able to subsequently report the incident to the police and ensure a court case and prosecution would result. What am I missing?

  16. When are the Garda Siochana going to investigate themselves or be investigated for their collusion with the Church in covering up the horrendous sex crimes of paedophile priest Tony Walsh? Instead we have this hysterical reefer madness insanity whipped up by the print media over the death of Gerry Ryan. There has been complete silence by the media about the collusion of the Gardai and Church over the Tony Walsh affair. When are Bishops and Cardinals and Bishops going to be held to account for their crimes? When is the ‘wounded healer’ Sean Brady going to get it and resign? When are our political leaders going to confront this evil? I don’t think they are capable of being responsible and have the courage to confront the Church.

  17. How to get the church’s attention? I think money might be key. Instead of giving donations at church, give a slip of paper saying “my donations will return when child rape stops”…

  18. “When are the Garda Siochana going to investigate themselves or be investigated for their collusion with the Church in covering up the horrendous sex crimes of paedophile priest Tony Walsh”. I suspect this has to be the only answer to my question. Parents did care about their kids, knew what was going on, reported it, and the police did not act on what appears to be pretty damning evidence until the wheels of justice started to turn in the mid nineties. Even then it’s taken 15 years to get Walsh back behind bars. Extraordinary. Bock – I think that slip of paper idea is absolutely spot on.

  19. I printed off this thread last night, to read it fully.
    It made me sick.
    Even though, we are nearly impossible to shock now in this country, that report is utterly shocking!
    What was the bastard doing in people’s homes?
    The gas man “lovely” priest, sure he’s not like a priest at all, will you have a small drop father, call anytime, Michael get up and say hello to father…………………..
    Hopefully, parents now barr the door?

    Thank you, Bock, for writing it.

  20. These guys had (or have?) amazing access to people’s homes. I’d like to think that people have become more cautious about trusting them after all these revelations.

  21. Do you know what kind of power these fuckers had/have? I will give an example. I lived in a big town not far from the city a while back. The parish priest called one day to ask for donations for the new church. I respectfully declined to donate any monies. His reaction ” where would you have baptised you two little boys if we hadn’t a new lovely church with baptismal font? My response ” I’m not too worried about that as we have no intention of getting the lads baptised”
    Oh I see, says he. A few months later my neighbours were moving on and came to say goodbye. The gent mentioned to me that a few weeks ago he had a call from the priest who was wondering what kind of neighbours we were. The gent said fine, very good neighbours. Well said the priest if they cause any trouble in the future, let me know and I wont be long having them moved. This was in the early 90’s. Pigs all of them.

  22. I am a Survivor.

    How many people leaving comments here are Survivors or have worked with Survivors? Who REALLY KNOW what they are talking about, dealing with.

    And in general how many Survivors are enabled to speak in the public domain?

    Why are Survivors Voices rarely heard?

  23. I understand that. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    I contribute because I wish to expand and deepen peoples understanding of the matter, by providing links to appropriate research, by challenging what i see as conventional thinking, by voicing the perpsective of one survivor, one who has made the journey from abuse to abusiveness to empathy… myself.

    I understand the manipulations of abusers because I was an abusive person, a manipulative person; I have a keen sensitivity to the dynamics of manipulation. I know them intimately and have had to face them.

    My point is that in the general discourse, here and elsewhere, many people make many comments, much of it prejudicial, much of it based on personal opinion rather than fact, or evidence and much of it useless in terms of actual material action to confront the abusers, the protectors and ultimately to prevent abuse. I am sure that the intent is benign, but is that enough given the scale and effect?

    What similarities are there between the Irish people of the 1990s and 2010s and the ‘good germans’ of the 1930s?

    It’s well over 20 years since the first allegations emerged. Why is this process of accounting and justice taking so long?

    My answer is that the societal conditioning is such that it renders most people subject to it unable to see through the manipulations. Other less kind commentators suggest that there is a widespread unwillingness to see through it. Either way, the elephant in the room is still unnoticed.

    Who would like to discover that that which they hold dear is actually designed to abuse them?

    And yet who can afford to avoid that, if it is the case?

    Society, that’s you and I, and all of us, has to get to grips with the dysfunctional psychology of Power and Power Relationships that has and is operating freely – and that means confronting some very uncomfortable sacred cows, not least our preconceptions, received wisdoms and false premises that live within ourselves, that we have accepted unconditionally.

  24. Cornelius, you are right. Manipulation is a large part of the exercise of power. You show people their fear and then show them the one “exit” from its discomfort, the one “exit” that happens to be the path you wish them to take.

    I have (fortunately), not much history with this dynamic in my personal relationships, but I have often pondered on the way larger groups of people can be manipulated, say, in politics or in marketing.

    If you keep people on their back feet, in the grip of powerful emotions, emotions that shut down all rational thought, you can succeed in pointing them in the direction you wish them to go.

    Cornelius, I’d be interested in what qualities you believe can counter such manipulation. In my book they include a well-developed habit of rational thought, a willingness to question authority, a certain independence from the approval of others, and a certain moral courage, to act in accordance with your conscience even if all around you do not.

  25. Scotlyn…

    The qualities you have described are absolutely key – and the foundation for those is ruthless self-honesty in the first instance. It starts at home.

    The willingness to examine the depths of one’s own being, the meaning of one’s lived experiences.

    And that requires empathy, not least for oneself.

    We KNOW what we FEEL. It’s primary. And FEAR blocks that knowledge more than any other thing.

    And for most of us, that also requires what Alice Miller calls an ‘enlightened witness’ – that is someone to accompany one as one explores the depths of oneself, someone who is non-judgemental, who is honest and has some idea of the dynamics that children are subjected to, because they themselves have examined that within themselves. Someone to help us overcome the fear of knowing.

    The best discoveries are thes one the ‘client’ makes for themselves. Being there to support and encourage that investigation, to offer the space to examine the context withinwhich distress emerges, to support the emergent honesty that is key to the recovery.

    Part of the process of manipulation that abusers utilise is the internalisation of externally imposed values.

    An abused child will more often than not end up feeling as if they are the one that’s ‘wrong’. The repetition of the lie that the abuse/punishment was deserved goes deep. The poor are blamed for being poor , the sidtressed for being distressed and they FEEL that deeply, and because it is so common, almost ubiquitious, for many it is truly difficult to break out of that box. And so depression, resignation sets in.

    The children of alcoholics will protect themselves from the awareness of their parents neglect, and protect their parents from that same awareness.

    The spouses of abusers may become an apologist within the family dynmaic, just to keep it all together.

    Scapegoats within the family abuse dynamic tend to see themselves as the problem, tend to ‘adapt’ to that role imposed by the family dynamic.

    Nationalism is an internalised Societal value – no child is born thus. There are no irish Nationalist Feotuses.

    The same applies to all Religious Indoctrination. There are no Muslim or Christian or Capitalist foetuses.

    This process of internalisation replaces one’s own sensings with the ‘conventions’ of the Society. it’s a form of self alienation.

    If the imposition lasts long enough, one sees oneself as Christian/Islamic/Bhuddist/Capitalist first, and as a human being last. It’s a form of de-humanisation.

    Alice Miler says “Resistance is not so much a matter of intelligence, but rather a matter of direct access to the true self.”

    Being able to see how those values were reinforced, how they are connected to the societal historical narrative of Power within which ones experience is set is very important.

    Abusers know all this, mostly unconsciously.

    Societal Institutions are built to apply this knowledge, yet are disguised as helpful organisations.

    For example the Irish Prsident McAleese recently blamed the Irish People for the economic woes, and not the Bankers, Politcians, Church or the Irish elites. She KNOWS exactly what she is doing by saying that. she knows that enough people will actually believe that and that belief will create a division.

    Bertie Ahern knew exactly whathe was doing allowing the US Military use Shannon Airport as a combat troop transit point during an illegal war of aggression.

    The Irish Government KNEW exactly what they were doing when they set up the Redress fund and the mechanisms for Survivors to tell their stories, under forensic cross-examination, with no-one being named, with no right to pursue civili litigation against the irish Church or The Vatican. They knew at the time the full extent of the endemic abuses, as did the Vatican. They have done everything they can to make it look like they are helping, whilst de facto obstructing justice.

    They KNEW that many Survivors would be re-traumatised as a result, which would make them less likely to succesfully pursue a civil case, they knew that a certain proportion of Survivors would commit suicide or die from ill-health long before the process they had set in place was complete and that more would simply take the money and shut up, get on with their lives….

    The evidence is in the results of the processes they set up, and the parralells around the world, not least in the way Pharmaceutical Companies and Banks will draw out cases for as long as they can to wear down the oppostion, often paying more in fees than in compensation. It’s a TACTIC. It’s strategic.

    And it’s a tragedy. A horror story. Banal.

    The only resistance is being able to access one’s true self. One’s true nature.

    Bearing in mind thare are no natural correlates for such widespread biologically dysfunctional behaviour. Nature does not do socio-pathy as a norm. Nature nurtures life. We ARE nature first and foremost, not some imposition upon nature.

  26. So he was attacked and slashed, was he? I feel no sympathy for him.

    They survive prison because the authorities put all the perverts together in the same wing, where they reassure each other that what they do is normal.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.