23 year old Ashling Murphy’s murder on Wednesday has sparked waves of sadness and outrage in her local area of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, as well as the wider landscape of social media and the nation.
The primary school teacher is believed to have been randomly targeted while out for a run at around 4pm midweek, with the injuries she sustained during the attack proving fatal.
Ashling Murphy did what so many of us do on a daily basis. She put on her runners and went for a run.
Ashling was murdered exercising in broad daylight.
Her body found along Fiona’s Way, a route named in reference to Fiona Pender who disappeared aged 25 in August 1996, the area is known to be well populated with other exercise users and walkers, leading many to converse that the incident which occurred in broad daylight is all the more poignant.
According to RTE news, a man in his 40’s who was arrested in connection to the killing yesterday was released last night and is no longer a suspect having been "eliminated from Garda enquiries."
Gardaí investigating the fatal assault on a woman yesterday in Tullamore are appealing for info on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars & distinctive yellow/green front forks. Please call Tullamore GS (057 932 7600) or the Garda Confidential Line (1800 666 111). pic.twitter.com/XUDhQvuDgU
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) January 13, 2022
Gardaí are now appealing for knowledge in relation to a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow and green front forks.
Vowing that “no stone will be left unturned in bringing the perpetrator of this crime to justice”, Superintendent Eamon Curley pleaded with the public to come forward with any information, no matter “however insignificant you feel it may be.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends and colleagues and her pupils who are without their teacher this morning” he added.
Tributes have been paid to Co Offaly teacher Ashling Murphy, who was murdered along the banks of the Grand Canal yesterday afternoon.
#IsThisOk and #SheWasGoingForARun
Campaigns and vigils sparking throughout the country amid an air of fear and trepidation, stark statistics are coming to the fore front of many people’s minds as they were highlighted in a reality format in the last few days.
Runner’s World 2021 research showcasing that over 60% of women have been harassed when running, with 6% having feared for their lives.
34% said that they would only run when its light outside, with 54% conceding to run at any time but avoid certain places when it’s dark.
Thinking of that poor woman killed at 4pm in Tullamore and of how often I, like many other women, head out for a walk at 4 because we don't feel safe when it gets dark, at 5. And yet, she still wasn't safe.
— Naomi Hanlon (@gnomesnotions) January 12, 2022
In a statement yesterday Taoiseach Micheál Martin recognised that the “barbaric” assault has caused “enormous trauma” for Murphy’s family, community and the pupils of Durrow National School.
“Ashling represented the best of modern Ireland, as a teacher, musician and sportsperson” 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.”
Rest in peace Ashling Murphy, horrifying, frightening and just so so heartbreaking 💔
She just went for a run. pic.twitter.com/3vqQnMUAma
— Louise Quinn (@louise_quinn4) January 13, 2022
Not a new problem however, runner Sarah McDonald previously spoke on the issue with HerSport and the It’s Just Sport podcast in March of last year. Experiencing verbal abuse and groping while out exercising the English athlete recalled thinking, “Did that actually really just happen?”
“It did make me reflect on where I was running, who I was going to run with and what I was going to do going forward” the Team GB star said.
“I came out and tweeted and posted on my Instagram story about the thing but I didn’t do that necessarily for myself, it wasn’t an outlet for me… I wanted to raise awareness for it in case other people had been through the same.”
“It really shocked and disgusted me how many people have been through something similar” McDonald added.
Having to “rethink” her own running routine as a result, she supplemented that she shares her location with family and friends, tells someone when she is leaving and when she expects to be back and ventures on routes where she feels comfortable.