Runners across island of Ireland pause in memory of Ashling Murphy

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: PA</span>
Photograph: PA

Runners across the island of Ireland paused in memory of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy on Saturday, with further vigils organised following the murder of the teacher.

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

The Garda said it had made “significant progress” in its investigation amid reports detectives had identified a person of interest.

Gardai said they were not releasing details for operational reasons.

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

Hundreds of people also gathered in Cork on Saturday morning for a vigil, with more planned in towns and villages across the weekend.

A vigil will also be held in London on Saturday afternoon.

Thousands of people gathered in the late afternoon in Tullamore, Dublin and Belfast on Friday, as Ireland continues to reel from the murder of Murphy, with echoes of the national reckoning that was sparked in the UK last year by the murder of Sarah Everard.

Events also took place in Belfast, Dublin and other towns and cities across the island of Ireland on Friday.

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

Her father, Ray Murphy, paid a poignant tribute to the talented young musician by performing her favourite song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, on the banjo.

Musicians at a memorial for Ashling Murphy outside the government buildings in Dublin
Musicians at a memorial for Ashling Murphy outside the government buildings in Dublin. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has said that the murder has “united the nation in solidarity and revulsion”.

“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,” he said on Friday.

Michelle O’Neill, Stormont’s deputy first minister, said at the vigil in Belfast: “I think the sheer fact that, right across every town, village and county across this island today people are gathering in large numbers to remember Ashling Murphy shows that women have had enough. We are entitled to feel safe, we are entitled to be safe. We are entitled to go for a run. We are entitled to go to work and feel safe, we are entitled to go to the shops and feel safe. I think this is a watershed moment in our society today.”

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

“We, as a society, need to face up to this. There is an epidemic of violence against women. It’s been going on for millennia, quite frankly,” Leo Varadkar, the deputy prime minister, said on Friday.

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