Violence against women will not be tolerated in Ireland, the Taoiseach has said in the wake of the killing of a young schoolteacher.
The killing of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly, has triggered widespread outpourings of grief and anger, with vigils planned in towns and cities across Ireland over the coming days.
On Thursday evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the killing as a “devastating blow to her family and community”.
“The entire country is devastated and shocked by the violent and barbaric killing of Ashling Murphy, a young woman in the prime of her life,” he said.
“There is no place in our society for violence, particularly violence against women. It cannot and will not be tolerated.
“The safety and security of women is at the core of our society’s values.”
Mr Martin said the country’s “thoughts and prayers are with her parents, family, friends, club and community.
“We are also conscious of the enormous trauma being experienced by the children she taught at Durrow National School,” he said.
“Ashling represented the best of modern Ireland, as a teacher, musician and sportsperson.”
Ms Murphy “gave everything to life, moulding young people for the future and sharing her talent for music and sport.”
Met with @NWCI today. Discussed gender-based violence in context of yesterday’s devastating events. Also spoke about how we can achieve gender balance on corporate boards, improve affordability & quality of childcare & all-island women’s forum pic.twitter.com/K83Lea03bV
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) January 13, 2022
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also expressed his condolences to the family of Ms Murphy, tweeting on Thursday afternoon: “There must be zero tolerance for any violence against women.
Mr Varadkar called Ms Murphy’s death “truly devastating and senseless”.
“Every effort is being made to make sure justice is served,” he said, later adding that he met with the National Women's Council of Ireland to discuss gender-based violence.
Gardaí have said that “no stone will be left unturned” as they investigate the killing of the young teacher as she jogged along a canal.
A 40-year-old man has been arrested in relation with the incident and remains in custody this evening.
Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters on Thursday morning that around 50 officers were working on the murder investigation, as he appealed for witnesses to come forward.
He said that gardaí did not believe Ms Murphy knew her killer and said that he was likely a “male who acted alone”.
Safety of women
The scene remains closed off at the Grand Canal as the investigation continues. A post-mortem has been completed, gardaí confirmed on Thursday evening.
Officers also issued a fresh appeal for witnesses and asked anyone with information on a “Falcon Storm mountain bike” with “straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks” to come forward.
Tullamore locals have spoken of a sense of devastation, as well as confusion about the “randomness” of the attack.
Ms Murphy’s death has sparked fresh conversations about the safety of women in Ireland, with many questioning how such a brutal attack could happen in broad daylight.
Senior Irish politicians have promised that justice will be delivered for the family of Ms Murphy and condemned any form of violence against women.
Those who knew Ms Murphy have described her as a gifted musician who was loved by the children she taught.
Vigils are set to take place across Ireland in the coming days as people gather in memory of the primary school teacher.