Schools asked to observe minute's silence to remember Ashling Murphy ahead of funeral

Schools asked to observe minute's silence to remember Ashling Murphy ahead of funeral

Floral tributes and candles are left after a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden in memory of Ashling Murphy. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Schools across the country will observe a moment’s silence tomorrow morning as the family of Ashling Murphy prepare to lay her to rest.

The teachers' unions have come together this morning to ask that all schools and colleges acknowledge the death of the young teacher with a minute’s silence at 11am – the time of the funeral Mass in St Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus, Co Offaly.

She will be laid to rest afterwards in nearby Lowertown cemetery.

This morning, the scene of the murder on the Grand Canal on Fiona’s Way remained sealed off, as did a local bottle bank which was sealed off last night.

Gardaí are today continuing their investigations into the horror killing of the 23-year-old musician and camogie player, whose death has resulted in an outcry across the country about violence and misogyny against women.

Gardai are waiting for medical clearance to question a man described as a “person of interest” in the case.

He is currently in hospital in Dublin and garda sources indicated that it is unlikely that the man will be spoken to by gardaí this afternoon.

Last week, a man arrested and questioned by gardaí was released without charge, and cleared as a suspect in the case after the results of forensic tests came back, comparing his DNA and fingerprints to those found at the scene, which ruled him out.

Forensics are expected to play a key role in their next step in the investigation.

It comes as mourners gathered to pay their respects at Ashling Murphy’s family home in Blueball, Co Offaly, last night as vigils in her memory continued to take place worldwide, with tens of thousands of people taking part.

The funeral Mass for the 23-year-old will take place at St Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus and will be streamed live, followed by her burial in Lowertown Cemetery. The Requiem Mass will be streamed live on the Memorial Lane website, and also at this backup link

Vigils took place throughout Ireland and abroad at the weekend, to remember Ms Murphy, including in London, Brisbane, and New York.

Schoolteacher Ashling Murphy will be buried tomorrow amid vigils worldwide, as gardaí continue to investigate her murder last Wednesday afternoon in Tullamore Co Offfaly. Picture: RIP.ie
Schoolteacher Ashling Murphy will be buried tomorrow amid vigils worldwide, as gardaí continue to investigate her murder last Wednesday afternoon in Tullamore Co Offfaly. Picture: RIP.ie

A man who is currently in a Dublin hospital — described as a “person of interest” rather than formally a “suspect” — has been identified, and gardaí are waiting to speak to him when he is deemed medically fit.

The unexpected release of a wrongly identified man who was arrested and questioned would “not stop or hinder” the garda investigation, a retired senior detective has said.

Gardaí released Radu Floricel after the results of forensic tests came back, comparing his DNA and fingerprints to those found at the scene, which ruled him out. 

In an interview, Mr Floricel said he had been identified on “media and social media” and that “really bad” and “degrading” things had been said about him.

The scene of the fatal attack remained sealed off yesterday as investigations continued.

'Zero tolerance for violence against women'

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said yesterday that there would be a “zero tolerance” approach to violence against women. A strategy to target the issue was due before Christmas, and will now be published in March.

Helen McEntee: 'If any glimmer of light is to come from these awful, awful events this week, it is that as a community and as a society, we now stand together and demand zero tolerance of violence against women.' Picture: Gareth Chaney
Helen McEntee: 'If any glimmer of light is to come from these awful, awful events this week, it is that as a community and as a society, we now stand together and demand zero tolerance of violence against women.' Picture: Gareth Chaney

A number of counties without domestic violence refuges will receive funding to open one under the new strategy.

There are nine counties without a domestic violence refuge; however, according to Government sources, at least one midlands county is to receive funding to remedy the issue. 

Counties with a local committee targeting violence against women have been prioritised for refuge funding. However, those without such a committee may not be allocated any funding, due to lack of local infrastructure to support and run a new facility.

Sinn Féin's Pauline Tully has criticised the fact that some counties in Ireland have no domestic violence refuges and those that do exist are severely underfunded.

Speaking at Leinster House, Ms Tully, who is a TD for Cavan-Monaghan and the party's disability spokeswoman, said while a strategy to combat violence against women was being brought forward by the Government, on its own it wasn't enough.

"First of all, we need to see the strategy. We also need to see it fully funded in terms of resources. Because many of the domestic violence centres and there are many counties and I want to remind you, like my own constituency of Cavan-Monaghan have none at all. They're underfunded, they're surviving on a shoestring. So there's a lot of things needed around this," she told the Irish Examiner.

"We need to see a strategy implemented, we need to see the proper resourcing and proper funding. And we need to see cross-party support for this. This is not a political issue is one that affects everybody, everyone when the decision and action must be taken down and this needs to be done. Right now, this needs to be the watershed moment," she added.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told RTÉ it was “absolutely essential” that a minister is now appointed to lead the Government’s forthcoming strategy on violence against women; however, no new Government department will be established.

“Over the last year, we have been working to develop the strategy; Minister [Roderic] O’Gorman’s department has been working on an accommodation review,” said Ms McEntee.

I will lead the implementation of this strategy. I work very closely with my colleagues, Minister O’Gorman, and others, but we will be supported in its implementation by the Department of the Taoiseach.

“If any glimmer of light is to come from these awful, awful events this week, it is that as a community and as a society, we now stand together and demand zero tolerance of violence against women.”

The strategy will contain four key pillars: protection, prevention, prosecution, and policy co-ordination.

“The plan will include timelines, clear targets on who has to deliver those actions — but it will also be supported by funding,” said Ms McEntee.

Education Minister Norma Foley is working with Ms McEntee on the issue of education and schools teaching about gender-based violence.

“Education will be absolutely key and will be a key element of the new strategy on domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence,” said Ms McEntee.

“It’s a key element of my own strategy, supporting the victim’s journey, looking at the criminal justice system, educating everyone from our young people to those who come in contact with victims, but educating all of society. 

This is about a cultural change. This is about a culture shift. This is about none of us or every single one of us coming together to say that we’re not going to tolerate this.

Ms McEntee refused to be drawn on the continuing investigation into Ms Murphy’s murder.

“Gardaí are doing their job," she said. "They’re carrying out the investigation. And while it might not seem like it, if anybody has any further information at this stage, again, no matter how small they might feel it is, to please do come forward as the investigation is still ongoing.”

• If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please click here for a list of support services.

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