Ashling Murphy killing: Cork TD says 'violence against women is a perpetual pandemic'

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher in Tullamore, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Canal at Cappincur in Co Offaly.
Ashling Murphy killing: Cork TD says 'violence against women is a perpetual pandemic'

Deputy Cairns said the killing of Aisling Murphy had caused shock, revulsion and grief across the country.

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Holly Cairns, Social Democrats deputy for Cork South-West has said legislators have a duty to do more than just express their sadness at the killing of Irish women.

Ms Cairns was speaking in the wake of the killing of Ashling Murphy, the 23-year-old teacher who was fatally attacked while out running beside the Grand Canal outside of Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Wednesday.

Deputy Cairns said the killing of Aisling Murphy had caused shock, revulsion and grief across the country.

“Violence against women is a perpetual pandemic - it never recedes or fades away - it has always been with us.

“As legislators, we have a responsibility to do more than merely express our own sadness and disquiet at this senseless killing. We must direct State resources into strategies that can dismantle the cultural and social norms that underpin violence against women,” she said.

“We need to focus on education – particularly for boys and young men; interventions must be early and effective and penalties for perpetrators must be robust and effective.” 

Deputy Cairns said that as things stand, Ireland is not doing nearly enough.

“We are failing to implement even basic measures. It is now two decades years since the seminal Sexual Abuse and Violence (SAVI) report was published.

“That report revealed, for the first time, the endemic nature of sexual violence in our society. A second SAVI report has been promised for some time, but it has yet to materialise,” she said.

“How can we trust the Government to tackle sexual violence when they won’t even take basic steps to measure it?” 

Deputy Cairns noted that Ireland has less than one third of the number of women’s refuge spaces that it should have under the Istanbul Convention, and, she said, there are no plans to increase this number to the appropriate level.

“The Rape Crisis Centre has estimated that just 14% of rape complaints to Gardaí end up in court.

“A society in which violence against 50pc of the population is normalised, is a society that is broken, and we must take steps to fix it now,” Deputy Cairns said.

“As legislators, we need to identify violence against women as the epidemic that it is and act decisively to address it. This will not be easy.

“Political pledges must be matched with political will and significant resources,” she said.

EARLIER: A man arrested and detained by An Garda Síochána investigating the fatal assault of Ashling Murphy has been released, with gardaí saying he is no longer a suspect.

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher in Tullamore, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Canal at Cappincur in Co Offaly.

In a statement on Thursday night, gardaí said that the man who had been arrested and detained in connection with the assault had been eliminated from Garda enquiries.

"The male who was arrested and detained by An Garda Síochána investigating this fatal assault has now been released from this detention.

"This male has been eliminated from Garda enquiries and is no longer a suspect," the statement said. 

“An Garda Síochána continue to investigate this fatal assault that occurred at approximately 4pm on Wednesday, 12th January, 2022, along the canal bank at Cappincur, Tullamore, County Offaly.

“An Garda Síochána continue to appeal for any information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/ green front forks. 

“Gardaí continue to appeal for any person with any information on this fatal assault, who may not already have spoken to investigators, to come forward with that information.

“Gardaí continue to appeal to any persons that were in the Cappincur/Canal walk area of Tullamore, County Offaly before 4pm, yesterday afternoon Wednesday, 12th January 2022, to make contact with them,” the statement said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

Hundreds of people gathered in Galway city centre on Thursday night for a vigil in memory of Ashling Murphy.

A number of vigils will take place in cities and towns around the country to remember the teacher over the coming days.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland will hold a candle-lit vigil from 4pm today outside Leinster House.

In Cork, a walk is scheduled in memory of Ashling Murphy this Saturday at 9.30am at the Atlantic Pond, on the Páirc Uí Chaoimh side, while at 2pm, Rosa Cork will hold a standout outside Brown Thomas on Patrick Street.

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