LONDON – Hundreds of mourners turned out Tuesday in Ireland for the funeral Mass of a 23-year-old elementary school teacher whose slaying has reignited debate about how to tackle violence against women.
Police said Tuesday they arrested a man in his 30s on suspicion of murder in the case of Ashling Murphy, a musician and teacher whose body was found on the banks of a canal near the town of Tullamore in central Ireland on Jan. 12.
The killing has touched a nerve with many women in Ireland and beyond, because media reports suggested that Murphy was targeted when she was out jogging in the afternoon. Vigils have been held across the European Union country — as well as in cities like London and New York — calling for more to be done to combat violence against women.
Bishop Tom Deenihan told mourners that the killing was a “depraved act of violence” that united the country in grief.
Irish Premier Micheal Martin and President Michael Higgins were among the huge crowds who gathered for the funeral in the small village of Mountbolus.
Young children from the school where Murphy taught provided a guard of honor outside the parish church where the funeral was held, some holding up roses and photographs of Murphy. A large screen was set up in the local community center near the church to accommodate the crowds of people paying their respects.
Schools across Ireland observed a minute of silence in Murphy’s memory.
Ireland’s justice minister has said she planned to publish a new national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in the coming months.