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Vigils for Ashling Murphy ring out calls for an end to violence against women

Vigils took place across Ireland and beyond on Saturday 15 January in memory of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, following the murder of the Co Offaly teacher.

Irish police are continuing to hunt for Murphy’s killer. Murphy was found dead after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore.

The Garda said it had made “significant progress” in its investigation. But they were not releasing details for operational reasons.

Solidarity

People gathered at locations across Ireland on Saturday afternoon to remember Murphy. And hundreds attended a vigil in Cork on Saturday morning.

Vigils have spread beyond Ireland in recent days, with events organised in Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as in Brisbane, Australia.

And a tribute message for Murphy was also spotted in a London Underground station:

Moreover, Park Run runners in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland held moments of silence on Saturday morning for Murphy:

At a vigil in north London on Saturday, people held candles and stood in silent tribute outside the London Irish Centre.

Traditional music was played in honour of Murphy, a talented fiddle player, while some of the crowd quietly sang or hummed along.

Anna Johnston, cultural officer at the London Irish Centre, said people had come together in solidarity with those who knew and loved Murphy “and all the women of Ireland and further afield who are angry, distressed and heartbroken”.

Addressing the crowd, she added:

Today, along with Ashling, we remember all the women who have had their lives stolen through gender-based violence. We shouldn’t be here, and Ashling should be.

Significantly, the vigil in London took place alongside widespread protests and unrest over draconian laws:

Violence against women

Ashling’s murder has also renewed calls for an end to violence against women:

Activist and former TD Ruth Coppinger called on Saturday for a “major conference” on gender-based violence. She said:

This is a watershed moment that must be tapped and lead to meaningful change

Moving tributes

Thousands of people gathered in the late afternoon in Tullamore, Dublin, and Belfast on Friday 14 January, as Ireland continues to reel from Murphy’s murder.

Murphy’s family attended a candlelit vigil near the murder scene on Friday evening.

At the event, her father Ray Murphy paid a poignant tribute to the talented young musician by performing her favourite song on the banjo. He broke down in tears while playing the final chords of When You Were Sweet Sixteen.

Murphy’s family walked on the opposite side of the canal to where she was assaulted and murdered on 12 January.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that the murder has “united the nation in solidarity and revulsion”.

On Saturday, Irish police investigating Murphy’s murder released Radu Floricel. He told local paper the Offaly Express of his “horrific experience”. Floricel, who was declared no longer a suspect by gardai on Thursday 13 January, said:

I feel terrible for the misfortune of the young woman and the family. I can’t even imagine what they are going through

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