Vigil at Market Square in memory of Ashling Murphy. Photos: Arthur Kinahan
Hundreds of people gathered at the Market Square in Dundalk this evening for a candlelight vigil in memory of Ashling Murphy.
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.
A 40-year-old man was arrested, however late last night (January 13) Gardai released the man who they had been questioning over the death of Ms Murphy, stating he was now “no longer a suspect”.
The murder of the 23-year-old in Tullamore has triggered widespread outpourings of grief and anger, with vigils held in towns and cities across Ireland, including Dundalk this evening at 7pm.
Local people lit candles in memory of the young woman who was killed while out jogging and placed them at the square.
Speakers addressed the crowd during the emotional vigil, at which a moment of silence was held in memory of Ashling.
Ann Larkin from Women's Aid Dundalk said: “This could have happened in any Irish town or village, it could have been on the Navvy Bank or the River Walk in Dundalk, it could have been any of our daughters, sisters, nieces, mothers, friends or colleagues.
“Indeed, it has over the years been other families experience, our own community is no stranger to the violent death of women.”
Ann continued: “We remember Ashling and all those who have lost their lives to gender based violence and we hope that what has been ignited in our land in this past week will be fanned into a cohesive, effective response to violence against women, that will make our homes, streets, communities and country, safer for women and by so doing, safer for all.”
Grace McArdle from the Rape Crisis Centre North East, speaking to the gathered crowd, said: “Ashling was living her life,something she should have had the freedom to do.
“That was taken away from her.
“Ashling's life was so short lived, so cruelly taken.
“I am calling for the Government to step up and take action.
“Something clearly needs to change.
“Women need the freedom to stop living in fear.”
Grace concluded: “Ashling Murphy was just going for a run.
“Our thoughts are with Ashling's family today.”
Local musician Zoe Conway and her husband John McIntyre played the Irish traditional song Mná na hÉireann in memory of Ashling, a talented musician.
Zoe, before playing, said: “It is a great honour to play this tune in memory of Ashling.
“I like to think I am representing the Irish music community which Ashling was a huge part of and a vibrant member.”
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