Murder of young teacher has united Ireland in ‘solidarity and revulsion’

Gardaí are continuing the hunt for the killer of teacher Ashling Murphy.
Murder of young teacher has united Ireland in ‘solidarity and revulsion’

By Dominic McGrath, Cate MCurry and James Ward, PA

The murder of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy has “united the nation in solidarity and revulsion”, the Taoiseach has said.

His comments came as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said society has to face up to an “epidemic of violence against women”, with senior politicians promising that the entire resources of An Garda Síochána are available to bring the killer to justice.

Gardaí are continuing the hunt for the killer of the young teacher, who was found dead on Wednesday after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Taoiseach visit to Belfast
Taoiseach Michael Martin (PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said on Friday: “It’s very poignant and a very sad moment in our nation’s affairs when a young talented musician had her life violently taken a few days ago, and our hearts and our minds go out to the Murphy family, to her community, to her family and friends, and to particularly the young pupils who no doubt would have been looking forward to Ashling’s presence in the classroom, teaching music or sport as well as the broader curriculum.

“I’ve always been of the view that a national schoolteacher, from the beginning of the State, has been the bedrock upon which our society was built.

“And, in many ways, Ashling Murphy represented and personified the very best of that tradition of national teaching.

“I think it has united the nation in solidarity and revulsion at what has happened.”

He added: “No stone will be left unturned in terms of bringing this investigation to a completion and to bring the person responsible for this to justice.”

The Taoiseach said a new national strategy that is currently being developed to tackle sexual, domestic and gender-based violence in Ireland will adopt a “zero-tolerance” approach.

“There has to be a broad societal approach and realisation that there has to be zero tolerance for any sort of violence,” he said.

Mr Martin said he has spoken to the Murphy family.

“I just wanted, like everybody across the country, on behalf of the people to express our solidarity with them and our devastation. The fact that a beautiful young woman has been taken from their lives,” he said.

“I can say without hesitation that every effort will be made to bring this person to justice and to keep people safe in the intervening period.”

The death of Ms Murphy has sparked fresh debate about the safety of women in Ireland, with many asking how such an attack could happen in broad daylight.

A vigil has been organised in Tullamore on Friday, with a book of condolence opened online.

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