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Primary school teacher, 23, ‘killed by stranger’ in ‘devastating’ attack while out jogging

‘No stone will be left unturned’ in Ashling Murphy investigation

The killing of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, County Offaly, has triggered a massive outpouring of grief and anger, with vigils planned in towns and cities across Ireland over the coming days. A 40-year-old man has now been arrested in connection with her death.

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

Her death has sparked fresh conversations about the safety of women in Ireland, with many asking 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.

Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin called her death a “devastating blow”.

He said: “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.

Ashling Murphy

Ashling Murphy’s death has left the community devastated, said a local councillor (Image: PA)

Superintendent Eamonn Curley

Superintendent Eamonn Curley speaking to reporters on Thursday (Image: PA)

The entire country is devastated and shocked

Micheal Martin

“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 – who held the top job prior to Mr Martin – offered his condolences to the family of Ms Murphy.

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

Ms Murphy’s death was “truly devastating and senseless”, Mr Varadkar said.

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Ashling Murphy

Ashling Murphy was a 23-year-old primary school teacher (Image: PA)

He added: “Every effort is being made to make sure justice is served.”

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

He said: “No stone will be left unturned in bringing the perpetrator of this crime to justice”

Gardai did not believe Ms Murphy knew her killer and said that the perpetrator was likely a “male who acted alone”, Mr Curley added.

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

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Floral tributes Tullamore

Floral tributes left at the scene (Image: PA)

Police stand guard in Tullamore

Police stand guard in Tullamore (Image: PA)

Those who knew Ms Murphy described her as a popular figure in the Tullamore community, with a talent for teaching and music.

James Hogan, principal of Durrow National School where she taught, described the school community as “utterly devastated”.

He told RTE radio 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.”

Grand Canal Tullamore

The scene at the Grand Canal in Tullamore on Wednesday night (Image: PA)

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”.

He said: “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.”

Police Tullamore

Police at the Grand Canal (Image: PA)

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

He stressed: ”Tullamore is probably the safest place in the world, and after yesterday people will be nervous to go down to the canal.

“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.