‘There is shock but a lot of anger too’


The canal route in Co Offaly has been a haven for walkers and joggers in the course of the pandemic, a preferred path for clearing the thoughts in the course of the darkest days of Covid-19 lockdowns.

However on Wednesday the peacefulness of this picturesque stretch on the Grand Canal Greenway was violently shattered.

Main faculty trainer Ashling Murphy (23), a younger lady described as a star by all who knew her, by no means returned residence from her run.

A forensic tent on the canal financial institution on Thursday lined the spot the place she was killed.

A crew of Garda divers scoured the stretch of water at Cappincur, about 3km east of Tullamore, whereas their colleagues searched across the financial institution for something uncommon. Uniformed gardaí got here and went, navigating their 4x4s over the tiny stone humpbacked Digby Bridge, standing right here because the late 1700s.

A crew of officers, in blue Garda-issue overalls, labored the undergrowth with pitchforks and rakes on the lookout for something that could be related to the investigation.

Floral tributes

A gentle circulate of native girls got here and left floral tributes, some pausing briefly to replicate within the stillness earlier than leaving. One lady got here along with her daughter of main faculty age. Each had been in tears.

“Tullamore is simply in shock,” one lady confided. She and her friends couldn’t consider this might occur in “our city”.

“We had been simply saying to one another that is in regards to the time she would have wrapped up her day within the classroom and are available out right here for her jog yesterday. However now she’s gone. Gone.”

Gardaí search the scene of the murder of Ashling Murphy, on the banks of the Grand Canal, beside Cappincur in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Gardaí search the scene of the homicide of Ashling Murphy, on the banks of the Grand Canal, beside Cappincur in Tullamore, Co Offaly. {Photograph}: Dara Mac Dónaill

One other lady stated: “There may be shock, completely. However there may be a variety of anger. That stretch of the canal known as Boland’s Lock after which main into what we name Fiona Pender’s Manner. And Fiona is somebody we’re remembering as we speak too.”

Ms Pender was additionally from Tullamore and he or she was disappeared in August 1996, aged 25 years on the time and 7 months pregnant. Gardaí consider she was murdered and her physique disposed of. Her stays have by no means been discovered. Regardless of a number of arrests, and a suspect being recognized, no person has ever been charged with any crime associated to her disappearance.

Sporting background

From the townland of Blueball simply exterior Tullamore, Ms Murphy had a sporting background, taking part in with Kilcormac Killoughey Camogie Membership. She was additionally a proficient musician, taking part in fiddle and tin whistle and having simply begun mastering the uilleann pipes.

When she accomplished her diploma at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick she obtained a job in Durrow National School about 7km from Tullamore. She began as an alternative trainer final March and the job turned everlasting in September, when she took cost of top notch.

Her pupils should now come to phrases along with her sudden loss.

Faculty principal James Hogan advised The Irish Occasions that workers had been “overwhelmed” with the messages that they had obtained from the shocked area people, and from throughout the nation.

“We’re extremely devastated,” he stated. “She was unbelievable, an incredible trainer and he or she had a shining mild about her. Firstclass idolised her, the youngsters are simply heartbroken. There was a variety of tears right here as we speak.”



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