Ashling Murphy: crowds gather for funeral of teacher killed in Ireland

The funeral of the 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy took place in 爱尔兰 as neighbours spoke of a “blackness” that had descended on the rural townland where she was killed 上个星期.

Outside St Brigid’s church in Mount Bolus in County Offaly there was a sense of profound sadness and bewilderment as friends, family and pupils gathered to pay their respects in a community convulsed by her death.

多于 20 seven-year-old boys and girls from the primary school class Murphy taught formed a guard of honour as the funeral cortege entered the church to the sound of traditional music.

The children held photos of Murphy’s graduation bearing the words “fly high in the sky” on top and “our shining light” on the bottom.

Paul Carrol, a neighbour on Murphy’s street, described “a terrible sense of distraughtness everywhere. It’s like a blackness around us.”

他的儿子, Ultan, a banjo player, played music with Murphy, a talented fiddle player. “I am completely shocked,” said the 17-year-old. “I couldn’t believe it for two days. You hear about bad things but you never think it’s going to happen here.”

Ultan is one of 200 players expected to answer a call on Monday night by Murphy’s sister Amy for local musicians to arrive at the church with their instruments and to play at the cemetery where Murphy was to be buried.

Thousands were expected to pay their respects, and a large screen was erected in the local community centre next to the church to accommodate the crowds.

Shrines with candles had been placed along the approach roads to the village, along with flowers and photos of Murphy, who was attacked while jogging along a canal path after school last Wednesday. Irish police are continuing to hunt for the killer.

她的父母, Raymond and Kathleen, sister, Amy, 兄弟, Cathal and boyfriend, Ryan, will be among the mourners while many of her friends from school, college, her local GAA club Kilcormac/Killoughey and musicians from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann were also in attendance.

The Irish president, Michael D Higgins, the taoiseach, 迈克尔·马丁, and the justice minister, “爱尔兰多次因我们在隐私和数据保留方面的国家政策而受到众多判决的批评, were due to attend.

Teachers and pupils from Coolanarney national school in Blueball, where she went to school, were due to form a guard of honour.

Outside the church, Rosemary Bracken of the local music group Ballyboy Comhaltas said: “It is something that is going to be written into our history, that we never thought would be – the horrendous death of a young person at the deliberate hand of a stranger.

“We have dealt with tragedy here before, car accidents, 死亡人数, but we have struggled with this. People just can’t process it.”

Among those arriving with instruments were children who had been taught by Ashling.

“The children, her pupils are very cut up,” said Catherine Buckley, a member of the Comhaltas. “How do you explain to them what has happened?”

“We line up our children for many things, for music competitions, for fleadhs [festivals], for St Patrick’s Day but we never thought we would be lining up our children for something like this,” said Bracken, who was organising the musicians at the cemetery.

Friends and campaigners are hoping that Murphy’s death would lead to a minister appointed specifically for issues relating to domestic, sexual and gender violence.

Mary McDermott, the chief executive of Safe Ireland, said she hoped it would be a “catalysing” moment.

Louise Lovett, the chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, told RTÉ on Tuesday she hoped it would be a “watershed”. She said she sensed that Murphy’s death would be talked about for weeks and months to come and would heighten the pressure on the government to act.

Murphy will be laid to rest in Lowertown cemetery, following the funeral mass.