| 9.7°C Dublin

turning point Thousands come out in vigil for Ashling Murphy across Ireland

Across Ireland, thousands came out to show their support for putting a stop to violence against women


On joining the crowd in Dublin, what was most striking was the wall of silence.

It was so quiet, the sound of the gulls wheeling overhead and the pulsating signal of the pedestrian lights were louder than anything else around.

Even as the golden light of the sun still shone in the sky, people were quietly lighting candles.

“I brought 50 candles and I didn’t bring a lighter”, one woman quietly reproached herself.

Shortly after 4pm, the moving, stirring sweet sounds of traditional music could be heard in the air.

It was difficult to tell how many were there for the vigil. But it seems at least 500 people. Most were young women but there were many people there of all ages, male as well as female.

In their hands, many carried a bunch of flowers. Blue irises, yellow and pink tulips, white chrysanthemums.

Signs carried read “Stop violence against women, a global pandemic”, “The real issue is male violence not women’s safety,” and simply: “End violence against women.”

It did not escape anyone’s notice that at 4.10pm, it was still so bright the candles could scarcely be distinguished.

Close

Flowers left at the vigil to remember Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

Flowers left at the vigil to remember Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

Flowers left at the vigil to remember Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

At 4.20pm, the lights of Leinster house gates automatically came on. But it was still bright enough to see every detail - heartbreaking as we paused to consider that it was earlier even than this that Ashling had been killed.

Towards 4.30pm we could finally see the candles. But Ashling already lay dead by that point of that terrible evening in Tullamore.

We were told how the young school teacher was “an incredible beautiful person.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Close

Vigils are to be held across the island of Ireland on Friday in memory of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Vigils are to be held across the island of Ireland on Friday in memory of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Vigils are to be held across the island of Ireland on Friday in memory of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

“It shouldn’t have happened to her.”

We heard how she was so happy all the time and “if she asked you how you were she meant it.”

We heard that Ashling’s boyfriend Ryan has been left heartbroken.

Ahead of the vigil, the National Women's Council had called for a dedicated cabinet minister with responsibility for ending gender-based violence and violence against women.

“This is a turning point. We need to end violence against women,” the crowd was told by Ailbhe Smith.

There was loud applause when she said it is now time “for all men or good faith to stand up beside us and say that’s it.”

Close

Labour TD Ivana Bacik and Taoiseach Micheál Martin join attenders at the vigil to remember Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Labour TD Ivana Bacik and Taoiseach Micheál Martin join attenders at the vigil to remember Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Labour TD Ivana Bacik and Taoiseach Micheál Martin join attenders at the vigil to remember Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House this afternoon. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Towards the end, they softly sang “A woman’s heart” dedicated to Aishling and everyone softly joined in the chorus knowing the sorrowful words, “my heart is low, my heart is so low as only a woman’s heart can be,” many quietly weeping.

In Tullamore, local priest Father Joe Gallagher addressed the vigil before calling for a minute's silence.

He told the gathering attended by all the main religious groups from the area: "We remember her heartbroken family, her colleagues in work, in music, in sport, in friendship and her young pupils in first class who loved their teacher.

"This is a time of grief beyond words. We need to be together. We need to support one another in this dark time.

"We stand together, united with groups all over our country, and indeed beyond, united with women who fear and know the trauma of violence. United in grief, in anger, in shock.

"In this dark evening we want to hold a light in our hands, to stand together in solidarity with one another to share our tears and deep grief. Time to pray, to reflect, to listen, to be together."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy