Priest says he ‘got a bit of a thrill’ when lorry reversed through gates of Russian embassy

Reverend John Walsh said he ‘would not have minded’ being in the cab of the lorry

A priest in Co Donegal has said he "got a bit of a thrill" when he saw a tv report of a lorry being reversed through the gates of the Russian embassy in Dublin in protest against the war in Ukraine.

Reverend John Walsh said he "would not have minded" being in the cab of the lorry.

He made the comments while celebrating Mass at St Mary's church in Buncrana, where he serves as a curate.

He said that we live “in absolutely wretched times but I got a bit of a thrill” when he saw the lorry being backed through the gates of the Russian embassy.

The lorry comes to Buncrana once a month and delivers ecclesiastical goods such as the hosts used in the Mass, Rev erend Walsh said.

The priest recalled, fifty years ago, he was at the burning of the British embassy in Dublin “after Bloody Sunday”, a reference to the murder by British soldiers of 14 unarmed civilians in Derry on January 30th 1972.

“I would not have minded being in the cab of Wisley’s lorry yesterday when it went through those gates.”

He made the remarks on Tuesday just before concluding his celebration of Mass.

When contacted on Sunday, Reverend Walsh told The Irish Times he had nothing further to add to what he had said.

His remarks concerned an incident at the Russian embassy in Dublin on Monday March 7th. Desmond Wisley (49), with an address at Tully, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, was released on bail after being charged at Tallaght District Court last Tuesday with dangerous driving and criminal damage arising from the incident. Mr Wisley, who runs an ecclesiastical supplies company, urged the government to expel the Russian ambassador to Ireland.

Reverend Walsh grew up in Mahera, Co Derry, and is a former president of St Columb's College in Derry.

Dismissed

In an interview last year with the Irish News, he recalled his grandfather, also John Walsh, was friendly with the former Fianna Fail leader and president of Ireland, Eamon de Valera, and that de Valera had visited the family home in 1953.

He said de Valera had asked his grandfather to head the Garda Siochana after fascist leader Eoin O'Duffy was dismissed as Garda Commissioner in 1933. His grandfather, who had studied pharmacy in England and later ran a pharmacy business, declined.

Reverend Walsh's grandfather John and the latter's sister Helena took the anti-Treaty side during the Civil War while their brother Louis was pro-Treaty.

Helena Walsh Concannon later became a Fianna Fail TD and Senator, and Professor of History at University College Galway. She was a good friend of 1916 Rising leader Patrick Pearse who taught her and Louis Irish when both studied in Dublin.

Louis Walsh stood unsuccessfully for Sinn Fein in Derry in the 1918 general election and, with Fr Walsh's grandfather John, was interned for a period. He later moved to Donegal where he became a District Court judge.