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Newsboy remembers

gerry_walsh_01.jpgOn the RTE Documentary on One, 11 January, John, a former newsboy, recalled being in the Children’s Court in 1952, along with other youngsters who came before the judge for offences like shop-lifting. If they were sentenced to Industrial School, they would scream for their mothers, and still screaming, be frog-marched down the stairs to be locked away until transport was ready to take them away. He’ll never forget his saviour, Gerry Walsh of the Belvedere Newsboys Club (pictured here receiving a papal knighthood two years ago). Read the story below. John recalled his terror as he faced the judge, and then his astonishment as a man called Gerry Walsh pleaded for him, and saved him from industrail school. Gerry was (and still is) one of the dynamos of the Belvedere Newsboys Club. For many years John found safety in the club, and remembers learning to box from one of the school prefects, called Tony O’Reilly “who went on to sell more newspapers than the rest of us put together”. (John may not have heard of Headmaster Rupert Coyle’s prophetic upbraiding of young Tony: “O’Reilly, if you don’t knuckle down to work you’ll end up selling newspapers”.