Gardaí have carried out searches in Tullamore and Dublin as part of the investigation into the murder of Ashling Murphy.
Searches have been taking place in counties Offaly, and Dublin, as Gardaí investigate into the murder of Ashling Murphy. The 23-year-old primary school teacher had been attacked and killed on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Garda Síochána, there is a new person of interest related to the case, a man currently receiving treatment in hospital. Gardaí are also investigating a possible link between the fatal assault, and a separate incident involving a woman who reported a suspicious man to Gardaí.
It is believed that the woman told detectives that she believes she had been followed by a man on a bicycle, along the same pathway, two hours before the murder. Searches have been carried out in Dublin and Tullamore in properties linked to the new suspect.
Meanwhile, a number of vigils have been taking place since Thursday evening and will continue throughout the weekend. Two walks will take place at 9am along the Grand Canal in Rhode and Edenderry, Ashling’s native Offaly, in memory of the young woman. It is reported that tens of thousands across the country turned out at vigils across the country last night.
Last night, Ms Murphy's family visited three of the vigils held in her memory at her school, at the murder scene and at her GAA club where her father played some music. They say they appreciate and have been overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support but have asked for privacy to grieve their loss.
Taoiseach, Micheál Martin has also sent his condolences in paying tribute to the young schoolteacher, who taught first-class pupils. Appearing on The Late Late Show, Martin said he understood that people do not feel safe in environments they should feel safe in. He said that people were reflecting and “were saying enough was enough ... and this cannot, and should not happen again.”
Mr Martin feels there needs to be a “cultural change”, along with an upcoming Government strategy on violence against women. He said that this needed to happen, not just at government level, though he said Government needed to lead.
“Families, community, we have to call out any undermining of women, and any violence of course, but beneath the layer of violence, if I may, the whole culture of misogyny, the culture of absence of parity of esteem,” the Taoiseach said.