Politics

Tributes paid to Ashling Murphy at vigils in Ireland, London and New York

At least a dozen more vigils are to take place across the country on Saturday and Sunday, in response to the killing of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

In Cork, hundreds of people attended a vigil and walk on Saturday morning at the Atlantic Pond.

A rally organised by Socialist Feminist Movement Rosa was held in Dublin’s Smithfield Square on Saturday afternoon.

Former MEP Joe Higgins performed a song on the tin whistle in memory of Ms Murphy’s love of traditional music.

Rally organised by Socialist Feminist Movement Rosa in Dublin’s Smithfield Square on Saturday afternoon
Rally organised by Socialist Feminist Movement Rosa in Dublin’s Smithfield Square on Saturday afternoon

The former Socialist TD and Rosa activist Ruth Coppinger said Ashling Murphy’s killing had resulted in an “unprecedented wave of grief and anger” that had “gripped the country” over the last number of days.

“Ashling’s murder has burst open a dam and that sentiment is now more widely reflected throughout society. We can no longer accept women and gender nonconforming people living in fear ,” she said.

Ms Coppinger called for a major conference to be convened to bring together women’s organisations, the trade union movement, student unions and community groups as well as LGBT+, traveller and migrant organisations to bring about “fundamental change on this issue”.

Rosa activist Harper Cleves said Ms Murphy “did everything women are told to do to protect themselves . . . and that still wasn’t enough, because nothing will ever be enough in a world that thrives on misogyny and that pushes it down our throats.”

Student activist Haritha Olaganathan said there was “an epidemic of femicide” and “a culture of misogyny” that needed to be addressed in Ireland.

“It is time to stand up to the fact that femicide is an Irish issue as much as it is an international one,” she said.

The crowd of several hundred at the Smithfield rally chanted “not one more” in response to the names of women who had been killed in Ireland in recent years, including Nadine Lott, Jennie Poole, Natalia Karaczyn and Ashling Murphy.

A woman named Elizabeth, who said she had “narrowly avoided the same fate as Ashling twelve years ago”, said the past few days have been “terrifying and triggering” for her but that the nationwide reaction to Ms Murphy’s murder had been “so important” in working towards change.

Vigils have spread beyond Ireland in recent days, with events organised in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as in Brisbane, Australia. 

At a vigil in north London on Saturday, people held candles and stood in silent tribute outside the London Irish Centre. 

Traditional music was played in honour of Ms Murphy while some of the crowd quietly sang or hummed along. 

People hold a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
People hold a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Anna Johnston, cultural officer at the London Irish Centre, said people had come together in solidarity with those who knew and loved Ms Murphy “and all the women of Ireland and further afield who are angry, distressed and heartbroken”. 

Addressing the crowd, she added: “Today, along with Ashling, we remember all the women who have had their lives stolen through gender-based violence. We shouldn’t be here, and Ashling should be.”

On Friday, thousands of people gathered in all corners of the country to remember the 23-year-old primary school teacher who was murdered while out of for a jog on a canal bank in the late afternoon.

Thousands gather at a vigil in Tullamore town park, Co Offaly, on Friday. Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA Wire
Thousands gather at a vigil in Tullamore town park, Co Offaly, on Friday. Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

In Dublin, some five thousand women and men, young and old, gathered outside the Dáil. Many held candles, while others carried bouquets of flowers. Some of Ms Murphy’s friends played traditional Irish music in her honour.

In Tullamore, Ms Murphy’s family attended a vigil alongside neighbours and friends. Ms Murphy’s father, Ray, and sister, Amy, performed traditional music to a large crowd.

Scores of vigils took place in many other towns and cities on Friday, including Waterford, Limerick and Belfast.

Throughout the rest of the weekend, vigils have been organised in Cork city, Sligo, Waterford, Kilkenny and London.

On Friday night in New York a vigil was organised by the Aisling Irish Community Center at the centre’s location in Yonkers, followed by a short prayer service in a nearby church.

List of planned vigils
– Seafront entrance to People’s Park, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin; 4pm on Saturday
– Waterford Greenway, Carriganore, Waterford; 4pm on Saturday
– Abbeyhalfquarter, Ballina, Co Mayo; 7pm on Saturday
– Town square, Portumna, Co Galway; 6pm on Saturday
Ballymahon GAA club, Ballymahon, Co Longford; 6.30pm on Saturday
Portmarnock beach, Portmarnock, Co Dublin; 5pm on Saturday
London Irish Centre, London; 4pm on Saturday
– Doorly Park, Sligo town; 4pm on Sunday
– John’s Hall, Birr, Co Offaly; 7pm on Sunday
– The greenway, Moate, Co Westmeath; 4pm on Sunday
– Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny city; 2pm on Sunday

Additional reporting: PA

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