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14 Aug 2022

Onlookers unite in memory of Ashling Murphy at candlelit vigil in Newbridge, Kildare

PICTURES: Onlookers unite in memory of Ashling Murphy at candlelit vigil in Newbridge, Kildare

The vigil took place at 4pm, January 14 2022

Hundreds of women, men and children attended a candlelit vigil in Newbridge's Liffey Linear Park at 4pm to pay their respects to murdered teacher Ashling Murphy.

The Newbridge vigil was one of many that took place across Kildare on Friday, January 14.

Other areas that held vigils included Naas, Athy and Maynooth.

A number of people became emotional during the ceremony, which saw a row of lights, candles and flowers being laid in the 23-year-old's memory.

Several local public representatives also attended the event.

The vigil was organised by Sarah Reidy, who said: "There was a great turnout: I really appreciated the help from Chris Pender and Leanne Ní Néill, as well as Eleanor Keogh, who delivered a speech."

"May beautiful Ashling rest in perfect peace," she added.

'We should all be able to feel safe'

During her speech, Newbridge native Keogh said: "The Justice Minister (Helen McEntee TD) has said that no stone will be unturned, but I feel that more needs to be done to make women feel safe."

"In a park like this, we should be able to go for a walk, or go for a jog... I've noticed on Facebook that since this has happened, that quite a lot of women have put up things like: 'I normally go running, would anyone like to join me because I'm just too afraid to go along the canal in, for example, Roberstown or Sallins.'

"We should all be able to feel safe, whether its 4 O' clock, 6 O' clock or 12 O' clock," Keogh added.

She further said that it was "devastating" for the children Ashling taught to find out that their teacher "could die under such horrific circumstances."

Near the end of her speech, Eleanor Keogh said that men should stand up alongside women in order to prevent similar tragedies from happening.

She also admitted that she couldn't sleep thinking about what happened to Ashling Murphy, and even added that a sibling of hers taught Ashling as a student.

"Hopefully someone will be found and will be brought to justice," she concluded.

'Exhausting'

One female onlooker, who wished to remain anonymous, said that it was "exhausting" for women to always be on alert, and to drill into young girls' minds that “they must always be on alert.”

She also said that she was disappointed at the lack of men who turned up: "It looks as if it's only 15, maybe 20 per cent of the crowd are men."

One male bystander, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: "Ashling Murphy's death had a great effect on me when I heard about it: I have two daughters myself, and they always go out for a run themselves too."

"I wanted to show support for her family, her friends, her students and fellow teachers.

He added: "As a parent, you never stop worrying about your children, no matter what age they are; and if they're living at home, you wait until you hear the door latch."

As for what he'd like to see changed, he echoed Eleanor Keogh's sentiments: "I would like to see men hold other men to account when they see any unusual behaviour or bad treatment towards women."

"We need to support women in all stages of life," he concluded.

Gardai believe that Ashling Murphy was beaten to death by a man in what is suspected to be a random attack.

The late primary school teacher had been jogging along a stretch of the Grand Canal, known as Fiona’s Way, in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

If you have been negatively affected by this article, you can find resources to help you by contacting Women's Aid at 1800 341 900.

Additionally, you can email Samaritans Ireland at jo@samaritans.ie or ring 116 123, or visit the Rape Crisis Centre at drcc.ie.

 

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