Statement by Aitheantas, a Tullamore based group, on the death of Ashling Murphy

As a Tullamore based rights group, we are heartbroken by the death of Ashling Murphy. 

On Wednesday 12th January, our focus was on the Birth Information and Tracing Bill, a Bill which might in some small way allow Adoptees access to their own personal information and finally begin to acknowledge the damage caused by the legacy issues around controlling and censuring women. That evening I drove home passing by Gardai cordoning off a section of the canal that I pass by most days where a young woman, on a routine activity, had been attacked and killed. 

Ashling should have been safe. Ashling went for a run on a bright, clear day on a straight, elevated path, she did everything right. 

Ashling was jogging on Fiona’s Way, a walk dedicated to the memory of Fiona Pender, a young pregnant Tullamore woman, who disappeared in August 1996. Both Ashling and Fiona were failed.

Despite all our apparent progress, Irish society does not value women, it does not value women’s safety.  Women are threatened every day both online and in day-to-day activities and are living through a pandemic of violence that we need to devote similar resources as the Covid pandemic to tackling.

In Ashling’s memory we need to shine a light, shine a light on misogyny, on intolerance, censuring and disrespect of women.  

We will be attending the vigil for Ashling today in Tullamore and we urge everyone who can to attend similar vigils at various locations throughout the country (list available here) in memory of this beautiful woman, Ashling Murphy, and in solidarity with her family, partner, pupils, and colleagues who are grieving her loss and are at the forefront of our thoughts.

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