Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said that “every resource” will be provided to officers investigating the murder of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy.
Gardai are continuing the hunt for the killer of the young teacher, who was found dead on Wednesday after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
On Friday morning, Ms McEntee tweeted: “Every resource will be provided to An Garda Siochana to find who murdered Ashling Murphy. It is vital that we all support the Gardai in their work.”
She urged anyone with information to contact gardai.
The murder of the 23-year-old primary school teacher in Tullamore on Wednesday afternoon has triggered widespread outpourings of grief and anger, with vigils planned in towns and cities across Ireland on Friday and over the coming days.
Every resource will be provided to An Garda Síochána to find who murdered Ashling Murphy. It is vital that we all support the Gardaí in their work. Please anyone with any information, particularly on this Falcon Storm mountain bike, come forward to Gardai. pic.twitter.com/a9Mb0Ojdnp
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) January 14, 2022
On Friday morning, gardai issued a renewed appeal for witnesses and asked anyone with information about a bicycle – a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks – to come forward.
On Thursday night, officers released a man they had been questioning over the death of Ms Murphy, stating he is “no longer a suspect”.
The man’s solicitor told the PA news agency that he has had his “life ruined”.
Donal Farrelly, who represented the man during his two days of questioning, condemned those who had tried to identify him on social media.
The family of Ms Murphy have described her as a “special girl” and a “little angel”.
On Thursday, the Irish police force promised to leave “no stone unturned” in bringing Ms Murphy’s killer to justice.
Ms Murphy, a teacher at Durrow National School in Tullamore, was killed while running along the banks of the Grand Canal.
Those who knew her described her as a gifted musician who was loved by her pupils.
In an interview with the Irish Independent newspaper, her father Raymond said: “She was a great worker, with great drive. A marvellous musician.
“She crammed so much into her short life.”
Durrow N.S is utterly devastated by the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Ms. Ashling Murphy. Ashling was a very professional and talented young teacher. We are deeply saddened by her tragic loss. Our thoughts are also with her beloved family at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/7eNEs28h4R
— Scoil Cholmcille (@DurrowNS) January 14, 2022
Her death has sparked fresh conversations about the safety of women in Ireland, with many questioning how such an attack could happen in broad daylight.
Several hundred people attended a vigil in memory of Ms Murphy in Galway on Thursday night.
Many in the crowd attended with flowers and candles.
Senior Irish politicians have promised that justice will be delivered for Ms Murphy’s family and condemned violence against women.
Irish premier Micheal Martin said the teacher “represented the best of modern Ireland”.
He added: “The entire country is devastated and shocked by the violent and barbaric killing of Ashling Murphy, a young woman in the prime of her life.
“There is no place in our society for violence, particularly violence against women. It cannot and will not be tolerated.
“The safety and security of women is at the core of our society’s values.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar expressed his condolences to the family of Ms Murphy.
He tweeted: “There must be zero tolerance for any violence against women.”
Mr Varadkar called Ms Murphy’s death “truly devastating and senseless”, adding that “every effort is being made to make sure justice is served”.
Dublin, Galway, and Belfast are among the locations where vigils have already been arranged, with the impact of the attack felt on both sides of the Irish border.
Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters that around 50 officers are working on the investigation as he appealed for witnesses to come forward.
He said gardai do not believe Ms Murphy knew her killer and said he is likely a “male who acted alone”.
The crime scene remained closed off at the Grand Canal throughout Thursday as the murder probe continued.
Gardai also confirmed a post-mortem examination has been completed.
The route along the Grand Canal is often busy and is a popular spot for walkers and joggers.
Floral tributes were left outside the school gates of Durrow National School, where Ms Murphy taught, as the local community reeled in the wake of the attack.
On Friday, the school issued a fresh tribute to the former teacher.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the school said it was “utterly devastated by the passing of our dear colleague and friend”.
“Ashling was a very professional and talented young teacher. We are deeply saddened by her tragic loss. Our thoughts are also with her beloved family at this sad time.”
Principal James Hogan told RTE radio on Thursday that Ms Murphy was a “bright light who put a smile on anyone’s face”.
He added: “Ashling was a shining light to the kids and a very professional and talented young teacher.
“She was an inspiration to so many, not just in our school but across the wider community of schools.”