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03 Jul 2022

'A loss to all of us' - President Michael D Higgins pays tribute to Ashling Murphy

'A loss to all of us' - President Michael D Higgins pays tribute to Ashling Murphy

President Michael D. Higgins has expressed the grief of the nation as he spoke on the death of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore.

The 23-year-old teacher was brutally murdered on the canal near Cappincur on Wednesday.

“People throughout Ireland, in every generation, have been expressing their shock, grief, anger and upset at the horrific murder of Ashling Murphy," the President said.

"This morning I spoke to Ashling’s family to convey, as President on behalf of the people of Ireland, and on behalf of Sabina and myself as parents, my profound sympathy and sorrow and sense of loss that her tragic death has meant to so many, but what in particular it must mean to her mother Kathleen, father Raymond, sister Amy and brother Cathal.

"I sought to convey a sense of how so many parents, families, indeed all of the people of Ireland are thinking of the Murphy family at this very sad time. The loss of Ashling is a loss to all of us, but to her family it is beyond description.

"The outpouring of grief at the death of Ashling shows how we have all been very touched, and it is so exemplary for young and old, to read of all Ashling’s accomplishments during her short but brilliant and generous life.

"Those who knew, studied with her, or as we have heard, loved her as a young gifted teacher, all have borne witness to a life of generous commitment to her local community and to her creativity.  As a young, talented and enthusiastic teacher she had already made such a positive impact on her young students and colleagues at school. 

"To hear them speak of her is such a testament to the joy of sharing, be it in teaching, music or sport, that she conveyed in a way which must have brought much joy to all. She represented the best of her generation, in a life they will recall as inspirational.

"It is of crucial importance that we take this opportunity, as so many people have already done in the short time since Ashling’s death, to reflect on what needs to be done to eliminate violence against women in all its aspects from our society, and how that work can neither be postponed nor begin too early.

"May I suggest to all our people to reflect on all of our actions and attitudes – and indeed those we may have been leaving unchallenged amongst those whom we know – and do all we can to ensure that the society we live in is one where all of our citizens are free to live their lives, participate fully, in an atmosphere that is unencumbered by risks for their safety.  Let us respond to this moment of Ashling’s death by committing to the creation of a kinder, more compassionate and empathetic society for all, one that will seek to eliminate all threats of violence against any of our citizens, and commit in particular to bringing an end, at home and abroad, to violence against women in any of its forms. 

"Suaimhneas síoraí dá hanam uasal dílis, Ashling," President Higgins concluded.

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