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Vigils will be held across the country

Vigils in memory of Ashling Murphy have been planned for many sites across Ireland on Friday as public outrage grows over his murder.

Just hours after the National Council of Women of Ireland (NWCI) announced a rally outside the Dáil in Dublin on Thursday, parallel events were being held in at least eight other cities.

Orla O’Connor, director of the NWCI, said while the Dublin vigil was primarily about showing support for Ms Murphy’s family, it would also provide an opportunity to publicly express anger and refocus the need to tackle gender-based violence.

“So many people have been in contact with the National Council of Women since last night to express their shock, their devastation and the feeling that they want to do something about it,” she said. “It’s really accelerated since then and now there are vigils being held all over the country.”

Several hundred people attended a vigil in Galway on Thursday evening. Many in the crowd brought flowers and candles to the vigil, during which they heard calls for a society-wide discussion to address abuse against women.

Timed to coincide with the attack on Ms Murphy, which took place around 4pm on Wednesday, similar events are expected to take place at Tullamore City Park in Offaly, as well as Limerick, Cork, Carlow, Clonmel, Nenagh, Belfast and Derby. .

Ms Murphy’s death prompted a wide response on social media, much of it focused on the threat women regularly face. A video showing a woman being harassed by men in everyday life has been viewed over four million times.

“It really struck a chord,” Ms O’Connor said. ‘I don’t want to say I’m surprised but the number of people who have contacted us, I haven’t seen anything like this since Savita Halipanavar,’ whose death in hospital in 2012 sparked massive public outcry .

“The [Ashling] was, doing such a normal thing every day, going for a jog in broad daylight. . . the vast majority of women who are murdered, [it] is by someone they know. I guess what happened to Ashling is an added shock. It’s so random.

Ms O’Connor noted that in the coming weeks the government was due to release a new strategy on violence against women and said she was encouraged by Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s focus on the larger issues.

On Thursday, Ms McEntee repeated the same point made by so many others – that Ms Murphy had gone for a run in broad daylight, in a public space generally considered safe.

“And yet it happened to him,” she said. “That’s why it’s every woman’s worst nightmare and every family’s worst nightmare. But more generally, the issue that we now face around women’s sense of safety, we need to make sure that we listen to this, that we take all of this into account, that as a society we come together to address this issue .

Safe Ireland, the national umbrella body dealing with domestic violence, called for “an immediate public and political response to the ever-increasing rates of violence against women”. – Additional reports: PA