FAMILY FRIENDS OF Ashling Murphy, the young primary school teacher slain while she was out for a run near Tullamore yesterday afternoon, have the impact of the 23-year-old’s death as “beyond brutal”.
Ashling, who was from the community of Blue Ball outside the town, was attacked along the canal bank way at Cappincur, to the east of Tullamore, at around 4pm yesterday.
Gardaí confirmed this morning that they had opened a “full-scale” murder inquiry with 50 gardaí assigned. A 40-year-old man has been apprehended.
Locals and family friends paid tribute to Ashling in the town this morning. The young woman was characterized as a superb traditional musician and as someone whose smile would “light up a room”.
One of the most remarkable feelings in the area is that of disbelief.
John and Catherine Brady knew Ashling her whole life. Paying tribute to the teacher, John told The Journal: “She was just a great person. She was a tremendous musical talent. What happened to Ashling is absolutely beyond terrible.
“That’s all you can say really. Beyond brutal. I don’t even want to acknowledge the man detained. We should discuss about Ashling and how tremendously skilled she was.
Catherine told how the first time she laid eyes on Ashling was at a maternity hospital as she herself was heading in to give birth.
“The first time I saw her was when her mother and father were heading out of the hospital with their small newborn baby and we were walking in to have our daughter. To think she’s gone now is just so heartbreaking.”
The murder has been regarded with outrage not just locally but at a national level.
The National Women’s Council of Ireland announced that seeking to recognize the “huge outpouring of grief” it will be conducting a vigil outside Dáil Éireann for Ashling at 4pm tomorrow.
Appealing for information on the homicide, Justice Minister Helen McEntee stated that people were feeling horrified and upset at the news of Ashling’s death – adding that she shared that emotions.
Mary and Aoife Noonan also visited the place of her death to pay tribute to Ashling.
The mother and daughter revealed how they walked the same route every day and that the nature of Ashling’s death is one which will stick with them forever.
Mary said: “We walk here every day after school. It’s a busy enough spot for people exercising. I really can’t believe what happened to Ashling. I knew her well enough but my heart simply genuinely goes out to her family.
Irish traditional music movement Comhaltas published a statement in the aftermath of Ashling’s death.
The statement speaks of her amazing musical ability as well as her warm and compassionate demeanor.
“She was an incredibly gifted young lady who made an unforgettable impact on those who had the good fortune to know her.
“Ashling was among the top exponents of the concertina and fiddle and was also mastering the uilleann pipes. She has featured in our Comhaltas Concert Tours and was also a respected member of the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra of Ireland.
“The cruel manner of her death – in the middle of the day – as she ran by the banks of the calm canal in Tullamore has left us devastated and perplexed. The anguish of her family at the death of such a young and beautiful girl is beyond understanding.”
Kilcormac/Killoughey camogie club, of which Ashling was a proud member. also paid tribute to the teacher.
A statement from them reads: “It is with tremendous regret, devastation and shock that we learned of the unexpected and tragic loss of our friend, Ashling Murphy. \s“
Ashling was a widely loved member of our junior and senior squads, having also played underage for the club.
“She entered and exited the pitch with a smile every time, was enthusiastic and polite to everyone, while yet being quietly determined and dedicated, often driving from college in Limerick to attend training.
“She will be greatly missed by her saddened friends and comrades.
“The thoughts and prayers of the Kilcormac/Killoughey Camogie Club committee, members and wider camogie community go out to her family, friends, teammates, colleagues and pupils at this sad time.
“We will miss you Ashling.
“Our teammate, our friend, always.
“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.”
Garda probe \sSuperintendent Eamonn Curley stated this morning that gardaí are keeping “an open mind in this investigation” and that he would call for the public’s cooperation.
“I would also like to appeal to anyone who has not yet come forward who was on the Grand Canal Way on Wednesday 12 January 2022 between 3pm and 5pm,” he said.
“We would like to speak to you. We are asking for anyone who may have spotted any anybody who was behaving peculiar in that area. Any information you have however unimportant you may think it may be we need to hear from you.”
Gardaí are urging anyone anyone who may have information to contact them: Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.