Tony Walsh (priest)

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Tony Walsh (born 1954) [1] is a former Irish Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of child sexual abuse. [2] [3]



In the late 1970s, Walsh became part of Father Michael Cleary's All Priests Show as an Elvis impersonator. [2] [3] He was dropped from the show in the 1980s following rumours of child abuse, which were not reported to the Gardaí. [2] He was known as a "singing" priest. [2]


In December 2010 he was sentenced to 123 years in prison for child abuse. The sentences were to be served concurrently, netting to a maximum of 16 years. [2] At the time it was the most severe sentence imposed on a clerical child sex abuser in Ireland. [2] All of the 14 charges which Walsh was convicted of involved acts of child sex abuse which occurred from the mid 1970s to mid 1980s. [1] In December 2018, Walsh received an additional 3 12-year prison sentence, which will also be served concurrently, after he plead guilty to indecently assaulting a teenage boy with a crucifix in 1983. [1]

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin apologised to Walsh's victims and admitted that the church had failed them. [3]

Murphy Report

Chapter 19 of the Murphy Report was released by a High Court ruling on 15 December 2010 following the trial. [4] On 17 December 2010 the Irish Times published the following quote from the report:

"Fr Tony Walsh is probably the most notorious child sexual abuser to have come to the attention of the Commission... His pattern of behaviour is such that it is likely that he has abused hundreds of children." – Introduction to Chapter 19 of the Murphy Report. [5]

Current Status

Tony Walsh is currently being held in custody in a Dublin jail where he is a Listener and is due for release in 2021. By the time of his December 2018 guilty plea, Walsh had already been in prison for 13 years. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Ardghail, Aoife Nic; Hoban, Brion (19 December 2018). "Former 'singing' priest Tony Walsh jailed for 3½ years over indecent assault". Irish Times. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 McGarry, Patsy (11 December 2010), "Cruel crimes of the singing priest", The Irish Times , retrieved 12 December 2010
  3. 1 2 3 Walsh, Anne-Marie; Gallagher, Conor (7 December 2010), "Archbishop apologises as 'paedophile predator' jailed", Irish Independent , retrieved 12 December 2010
  4. "Judge clears abuse report chapter". The Irish Times. 12 December 2010.
  5. "Quotes from Chapter 19". The Irish Times. 12 December 2010.