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Minister for Justice urges people not to comment on Ashling Murphy murder case on social media

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has urged people not to comment on Ashling Murphy murder case on social media, saying it could jeopardise the process.

The 23-year-old primary school teacher was jogging along the Royal Canal in Tullamore, Co. Offaly last Wednesday when she was murdered in broad daylight.

Jozef Puska, 31, has since been charged with Ashling’s murder, and he is scheduled to appear at Clover Hill District Court on January 26.

The Minister for Justice told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne: “We need to be careful what we say. The process has started, it is important to be allowed to take its course.”

“There needed to be faith in the criminal justice system. We all have a responsibility here.”

“People have to trust the Gardaí and the system and not do anything to jeopardise the process,” she added.

Ashling Murphy

There has been an outpour of anger and devastation over Ashling’s murder over the past few days, as it has highlighted male violence against women in Ireland, and the danger women face on a daily basis.

Last week, thousands of people attended vigils across Ireland to pay their respects to Ashling, and to support all those who knew and loved her.

Her funeral took place at St. Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus on Tuesday, which was attended by President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina, who offered their condolences to Ashling’s parents Raymond and Kathleen, sister Amy, brother Cathal and boyfriend Ryan.

During the service, Bishop Tom Deenihan described the days since Ashling’s murder last Wednesday as a “nightmare”.

He said: “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 support.”

“The crime has also asked questions of ourselves and of society. Whether those questions will be addressed or passed over remains to be seen but we cannot allow such violence and disregard for both human life and bodily integrity take root in our time and culture.”

“Pope Francis in his homily for New Year’s Day just two weeks ago said that violence against women was an insult to God.”

Bishop Deenihan said “respect” was missing on the day of Ashling’s murder, but it has “re-emerged here all the stronger”.

He said the support and sympathy showed by the nation in the wake of this tragedy was a “a chink of light to last week’s darkness”.

“It was manifested at the various vigils, it was manifested by those who assisted here, at the family home and in Durrow school over the past few days by those who quietly and discreetly provided refreshments, stewarding and whatever help that they could.”

“Community is important and community works,” he added.

Bishop Deenihan described Ashling was a woman who lived “the short years given to her to the full, who developed her talents, who reached out to others, who made a difference, who brought happiness and who was loved”.

Fr Michael Meade said: “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, to simply give and show respect.”

“Today we give thanks for the privilege of sharing in this most wonderful gift of Ashling Murphy, today we share our love, our grief, our faith and our comfort with the Murphy and Leonard families.”

The Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline is 1800 341 900. For help and support you can also log onto


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