Vigils are being held across Ireland and the UK in memory of murdered 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy.
Irish police are continuing their hunt for the killer of Murphy, who was found dead on Wednesday after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly. The Garda Síochána said it had made “significant progress” in its investigation amid reports that detectives had identified a person of interest.
Gardaí said they are not releasing details for operational reasons.
On Saturday afternoon, large crowds gathered in London to pay their respects to the teacher. The vigil took place at around 4 p.m. – the time police said the fatal assault happened. Attendees lined up to sign a condolence book and lay flowers in Camden Square, north London, and a minute’s silence was observed. Vigils are also to be held in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Brisbane.
Earlier today, parkrun 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 expected in towns and villages throughout the weekend.
Thousands of people gathered late Friday afternoon in Tullamore, Dublin and Belfast as Ireland continues to recover from Murphy’s murder, with echoes of the nationwide judgment that has been unleashed in the UK last year by the murder of Sarah Everard. On Friday, events also took place in Belfast, Dublin and other cities.
Murphy’s family attended a candlelight vigil near the murder scene on Friday evening.
Her father, Ray Murphy, paid a poignant tribute to the talented young musician by performing his favorite song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, on the banjo.
The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said the killing had “united the nation in solidarity and revulsion”.
“Nothing will be spared to complete this investigation and bring the person responsible to justice,” he said on Friday.
Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister for Stormont, said at the Belfast vigil: ‘I think the simple fact that in every town, village and county on this island today people are coming together in great number to remember Ashling Murphy shows women have had enough. We have the right to feel safe, we have the right to be safe. We have the right to run. We have the right to go to work and feel safe, we have the right to go to the shops and feel safe. I think this is a watershed moment in our society today.
Murphy’s death has sparked a new debate about the safety of women in Ireland, with many wondering how such an attack could happen in broad daylight.
“We as a society have to deal with this. There is an epidemic of violence against women. This has been going on for millennia, quite frankly,” Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday.