Ashling Murphy: Vigils held for 'angel' teacher murdered while out on her run

Ashling Murphy, 23, was found dead Wednesday after walking along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly. Her death sparked debate about women’s safety in Ireland

Ashling Murphy was found dead on Wednesday

The murder of a young teacher has “united the nation in solidarity and revulsion,” the Irish Prime Minister said today.

Police continue to hunt for the killer of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was found dead Wednesday after walking along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said: “It is a very poignant and very sad moment in the affairs of our nation when a young talented musician’s life was violently taken a few days ago and our hearts and thoughts go out to the Murphy family, to their community , her family and friends, and especially the young students who would no doubt have looked forward to Ashling’s presence in the classroom, music or physical education classes, and the broader curriculum.

“I have always believed that a national schoolteacher has been the foundation on which our society has been built since the state’s inception.

Members of the Garda walk along the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly
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“And in many ways, Ashling Murphy represented and embodied the very best of this tradition of national teaching.

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

His comments came as Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said society was facing an “epidemic of violence against women”.

He added: “No stone will be left unturned to bring this investigation to a conclusion and bring the person responsible to justice.”

Ms Murphy’s death has sparked fresh debate about women’s safety in Ireland, with many wondering how such an attack could have happened in broad daylight.

A woman lays flowers near the Grand Canal
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Mr Varadkar continued: “I know the people of Tullamore must be very concerned at the moment because the killer is still at large and I would like to reassure people that all of the Gardai’s resources are being used to ensure that that person is found.”

The murder has sparked widespread grief and anger, and vigils are being held in towns and cities across Ireland.

Today, police renewed their appeal for witnesses, asking anyone who might have information about a bike — a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks — to come forward.

Officers released a 40-year-old man they questioned and said he was “no longer a suspect.”

The man’s lawyer told the PA news agency that his “life had been ruined”.

Ashling died after being attacked while jogging
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Donal Farrelly, who represented the man during his two-day questioning, condemned those who tried to identify him on social media.

In a newspaper interview, Ashling’s father, Raymond, said: “She was a great worker with a great drive. A wonderful musician.

“She put so much into her short life.”

Those who knew her described her as a gifted musician loved by her students.

Several hundred people attended a vigil in her memory in Galway on Thursday, many with flowers and candles.

The route along the Grand Canal is often busy and a popular spot for walkers and joggers.

Floral tributes were left at the gates of Durrow National School, where Ms Murphy taught.

In a statement released on Twitter, the school said it was “devastated by the passing of our dear colleague and friend.”

“Ashling was a very professional and talented young teacher. We are deeply saddened by her tragic loss. Our thoughts are also with her beloved family at this sad time.”

Director James Hogan said Ashling is a “bright light that puts a smile on everyone’s face”.

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