‘No stone will be left unturned’ in Offaly murder investigation, say gardai

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Undated handout photo issued by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann of Ashling Murphy (Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann/PA) (PA Wire)
Undated handout photo issued by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann of Ashling Murphy (Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann/PA) (PA Wire)

Irish police have promised “no stone will be left unturned” as they investigate the killing of a young teacher as she jogged along a canal.

The killing of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly, has triggered widespread outpourings of grief and anger, with vigils planned in towns and cities across Ireland over the coming days.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested.

Ms Murphy, a primary school teacher in Tullamore, was killed on Wednesday afternoon while running along the banks of the Grand Canal.

Those who knew her described her as a gifted musician who was loved by the children she taught.

Her death has sparked fresh conversations about the safety of women in Ireland, with many questioning how such a brutal attack could happen in broad daylight.

Senior Irish politicians promised that justice would be delivered for the family of Ms Murphy and condemned any form of violence against women.

Irish premier Micheal Martin called her death a “devastating blow”.

There is no place in our society for violence, particularly violence against women. It cannot and will not be tolerated

Micheal Martin

“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,” he said.

“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.

Flowers were left at a Garda checkpoint after the primary school teacher’s death (Dominic McGrath/PA) (PA Wire)
Flowers were left at a Garda checkpoint after the primary school teacher’s death (Dominic McGrath/PA) (PA Wire)

He tweeted on Thursday afternoon: “There must be zero tolerance for any violence against women.

Mr Varadkar called Ms Murphy’s death “truly devastating and senseless”.

“Every effort is being made to make sure justice is served,” he said.

Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters on Thursday morning that around 50 officers were working on the murder investigation, as he appealed for witnesses to come forward.

He said that gardai did not believe Ms Murphy knew her killer and said that he was likely a “male who acted alone”.

The scene remains closed off at the Grand Canal as the investigation continues.

Those who knew her spoke of how Ms Murphy was a much-loved figure in the Tullamore community, with a talent for teaching and music.

Principal of Durrow National School where she taught, James Hogan, said that the school community was “utterly devastated”.

He told RTE radio that Ms Murphy was a “bright light who put a smile on anyone’s face”.

“Aisling 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.”

Dr Labhras O Murchu, from traditional music organisation Comhaltas, said Ms Murphy was “among the finest exponents of the concertina and fiddle and was also learning the uilleann pipes”.

“We know that she and her family are at the heart of her local community. She was a much-loved school teacher and had so much to offer in so many ways.”

Declan Harvey, Fianna Fail councillor for the area, said: “I am devastated. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking of it all because it is a place I go all the time.

“She went there jogging, she does it regularly. I am lost for words.”

Mr Harvey said it is a route that he and his family often walk.

“Tullamore is probably the safest place in the world, and after yesterday people will be nervous to go down to the canal,” he added.

“It’s a lovely area and helps clear your head. It’s a very popular route that everyone takes. People walk their dogs, people with their kids and prams.”

Gardai are appealing for information, and asked anyone who was in the Cappincur/Canal walk area of Tullamore before 4pm on Wednesday to make contact with them.

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