It is fair to say that we were all deeply sickened, shocked, angry and scared by the shocking murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore on Wednesday afternoon. How could a young teacher out for a quick run in beautiful sunshine end up with her life brutally taken from her?
It is truly beyond words. We continuously hear of tragic and shocking stories. They register with us but don't really impact on us because they are elsewhere. But Ashling's death has shattered that. We have been bowled over wondering how could such a tragedy happen? How could such a beautiful talented young woman's life end so tragically?
Many women have shared their fear and anxiety of being out and about alone. They have honestly shared about not feeling safe. Everyone has a right to be safe and feel safe. Has this been robbed from us forever?
Conversations have started with great momentum on how women need to be treated so much better, with respect and with love. So many men are also totally horrified and shocked by what has happened to Ashling. We need to stand up so much more and call out on misogyny and violence against women. We can't give up. The right to be safe and feel safe will always be a priority. It has to be.
But right now the most important priority is to remember Ashling with love. We pray for her heartbroken family, her Mum and Dad, Kathleen and Raymond, her brother Cathal, her sister Amy and all her extended family. May God give them comfort and strenth to cope with this terrible ordeal. May Ashling's gentle and beautiful soul rest in peace.