Ashling Murphy: Irish police investigating killing of schoolteacher arrest man in his 30s

The arrest came as hundreds turned out to pay their respects at the teacher’s funeral

A young girl holding a photo of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy forms part of a guard of honour at the victim's funeral at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus, County Offaly, Ireland. Reuters

Police investigating the murder of Irish schoolteacher Ashling Murphy have arrested a man in his 30s.

The suspect was detained on suspicion of murder by officers on Tuesday after being treated in a Dublin hospital for a range of injuries.

The man has a partner and young children, according to Irish media reports.

The development in the murder investigation came as hundreds turned out to pay their respects at Murphy’s funeral in the village of Mountbolus, County Offaly.

Addressing people packed into St Brigid’s Catholic Church, Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan called her murder a “depraved act of violence”.

He said the killing of the young woman while out jogging by a canal had caused a nightmare for her community.

Schoolchildren who were taught by Ashling Murphy hold pictures of their teacher at her funeral on Tuesday. AP

Her death has intensified debate about women’s safety and prompted calls for more to be done to tackle gender-based violence. Over the past week vigils were held in Ireland and abroad, similar to the scenes that took place in the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s murder in England last year.

Sombre gatherings took place in London, Dubai, New York, Brisbane and Edinburgh to remember Murphy, a talented musician.

Children who were taught by Murphy formed a guard of honour as the hearse brought her coffin to the church, each holding a photo of the victim.

“The past few days have been a nightmare,” Mr Deenihan told mourners.

“A walk on a mild and sunny afternoon in January should be a happy event, promising the brighter and warmer days of spring and summer.

“That, as we know, was not the case.

“A depraved act of violence which deprived a kind, talented, loved and admired young woman of her life has since united the country in grief and in support.

“The crime has also asked questions of ourselves and of our society.

“It has questioned our attitudes and, particularly, our attitudes towards women, and it has questioned too our values and our morality.

“Whether those questions will be addressed or passed over remains to be seen, but we cannot allow such violence and disregard for human life and bodily integrity to take root in our time and culture.”

Musicians during the funeral of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy, who was killed while out jogging, outside St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus near Tullamore, Ireland. Reuters

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Prime Minister Micheal Martin were among those who attended the funeral.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin were also at the church.

Symbols of Murphy’s life were brought to the altar during her mass, including a fiddle, a jersey from a local camogie club, a family photograph, a school book and a portrait of the victim.

Parish priest Michael Meade said Murphy’s family had been “robbed of your most precious gift”.

“A gift that gave only joy and love, fun and laughter to many, many beyond yourselves and bounds of your own home,” Fr Meade said.

“Let us not be afraid to make change a reality in all our lives, change for what only is good.

“Together we grieve, we pray, we hurt — this is the heavy price we pay for love — we gather as a family of faith, to be with, to support by our prayer and our presence, those whose darkness is deep, whose pain is raw and fierce.

“The issues raised in many ways and by many voices since this horrible act of violence invaded all our lives will, we pray, continue to evolve and bring the change we need so much.

“Not to talk about it but to simply give and show respect.”

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said Murphy’s death had caused sadness to descend on the entire country.

“Such sadness across the country today as people think of and support Ashling’s family and friends through this nightmare,” he tweeted.

“Support each other, respect each other, as best we can through this outpouring of grief.”

Updated: January 19, 2022, 4:40 AM