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chink of light Ashling Murphy funeral: 'Depraved act of violence has united country in grief and support'

Bishop Tom Deenihan says murder questions ‘our values and morality’

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Teachers and pupils of Coolanarney national school in Tullamore who held a guard of honour as the funeral cortege of Ashling Murphy passed her former school in Offaly. Photo: Mark Condren

Teachers and pupils of Coolanarney national school in Tullamore who held a guard of honour as the funeral cortege of Ashling Murphy passed her former school in Offaly. Photo: Mark Condren

Tributes to Ashling Murphy at a shrine on the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Tributes to Ashling Murphy at a shrine on the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ashling Murphy who was killed by a stranger while jogging along a canal bank in Tullamore pictured on her Graduation Day. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ashling Murphy who was killed by a stranger while jogging along a canal bank in Tullamore pictured on her Graduation Day. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving for the funeral of Ashling Murphy at the Church of Saint Brigid, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving for the funeral of Ashling Murphy at the Church of Saint Brigid, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The coffin of Ashling Murphy passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to her funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The coffin of Ashling Murphy passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to her funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The hearse passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to Ashling Murphy's funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The hearse passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to Ashling Murphy's funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

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Teachers and pupils of Coolanarney national school in Tullamore who held a guard of honour as the funeral cortege of Ashling Murphy passed her former school in Offaly. Photo: Mark Condren

A “depraved act of violence” deprived a “talented young woman of her life.’ mourners at Ashling Murphy’s funeral are told today.

A guard of honour was provided by pupils from Coolanarney National School in Blue Ball, where Ashling was a pupil, with children lining the roadside as her remains were driven from her family home to the church.

Ashling’s first class pupils from Durrow National School stood outside the funeral mass at St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus in Co Offaly today.

Bishop Tom Deenihan offered his sympathy and support on behalf of the people and priests of the Diocese of Meath, to Ashling’s family and friends at the mass in Mount Bolus, Co Offaly this morning.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving for the funeral of Ashling Murphy at the Church of Saint Brigid, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving for the funeral of Ashling Murphy at the Church of Saint Brigid, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving for the funeral of Ashling Murphy at the Church of Saint Brigid, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

He described the days since Ashling’s murder last Wednesday as a “nightmare”.

“A walk on a mild and sunny afternoon in January should be a happy event, promising the brighter and warmer days of spring and summer. That, as we know, was not the case.

"A depraved act of violence which deprived a kind, talented, loved and admired young woman of her life has since united the country in grief and support,” he said.

Bishop Deenihan said Ashling’s murder has questioned people’s attitudes towards women, and it has “questioned our values and our morality”.

“The crime has also asked questions of ourselves and of society. Whether those questions will be addressed or passed over remains to be seen but we cannot allow such violence and disregard for both human life and bodily integrity take root in our time and culture.

“Pope Francis in his homily for New Year’s Day just two weeks ago said that violence against women was an insult to God.

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The coffin of Ashling Murphy passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to her funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The coffin of Ashling Murphy passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to her funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The coffin of Ashling Murphy passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to her funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Bishop Deenihan said “respect” was missing on the day of Ashling’s murder, but it has “re-emerged here all the stronger”.

He said the support and sympathy showed by the nation in the wake of this tragedy was a “a chink of light to last week’s darkness”.

“It was manifested at the various vigils, it was manifested by those who assisted here, at the family home and in Durrow school over the past few days by those who quietly and discreetly provided refreshments, stewarding and whatever help that they could. Community is important and community works.”

He added that community is needed to overcome “evils” such as this and community will be needed here in the weeks ahead.

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The hearse passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to Ashling Murphy's funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The hearse passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to Ashling Murphy's funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The hearse passes Lowertown Cemetery en route to Ashling Murphy's funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Bishop Deenihan said Ashling was a woman who lived “the short years given to her to the full, who developed her talents, who reached out to others, who made a difference, who brought happiness and who was loved”.

Fr Michael Meade paid tribute to Ashling’s family in his liturgy who he said have been robbed of their “most precious gift”.

“Together we grieve, we pray, we hurt – this is the heavy price we pay for love – we gather as a family of faith, to be with, to support by our prayer and our presence, those whose darkness is deep, whose pain is raw and fierce,” he said.

“The issues raised in many ways and by many voices since this horrible act of violence invaded all our lives will, we pray, continue to evolve and bring the change we need so much, to simply give and show respect.”

“Today we give thanks for the privilege of sharing in this most wonderful gift of Ashling Murphy, today we share our love, our grief, our faith and our comfort with the Murphy and Leonard families.”

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