Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said that “absolutely everything that can be done is being done” to bring the killer of Ashling Murphy to justice.
She was speaking after gardaí renewed their appeal for information as they search for the killer of Ashling Murphy after the man they arrested was eliminated as a suspect.
The man in his 40s who was being questioned in relation to the murder of the 23-year-old teacher was released from Garda custody on Thursday night.
A notice on RIP.ie said Ms Murphy will be “sadly missed by her heartbroken family” which includes her father Raymond, mother Kathleen, brother Cathal, sister Amy, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, neighbours and friends.
Ms Murphy was fatally assaulted at 4pm on Wednesday along the canal bank at Cappincur, Tullamore in Co Offaly.
Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks.
They are also appealing to anyone who was in the Cappincur/canal walk area of Tullamore before 4pm on Wednesday to make contact with them.
Ms Murphy was from the townland of Blueball, Tullamore. She had previously played camogie for Offaly and was a talented musician. One of three siblings, she was from a family well known on the traditional music scene in the Midlands.
Ms Murphy was killed at Boland’s Lock, Cappincur, on the Grand Canal tow path about 3km east of Tullamore at 4pm. It is understood she was beaten and strangled and suffered a wound.
A number of vigils are due to be held on Friday afternoon at locations across the Republic, including Tullamore Town Park at 4pm, to remember Ms Murphy and to call for an end to male-on-female violence.
A National Women’s Council of Ireland vigil was due to take place outside Dáil Éireann, Dublin, starting from 4pm – around the time that Ms Murphy was killed on Wednesday – for one hour. Vigils were also planned in Galway’s Eyre Square at 6pm, Limerick’s Arthur’s Quay Park at 6pm, Belfast City Hall at 4pm, Derry’s Guildhall steps at 4pm and on Saturday at 9.30am at Cork’s Atlantic Pond.
Books of condolence has been opened for Ms Murphy and are available at Westmeath County Council Civic Offices in Mullingar and Athlone for one week, between 9.30am and 4pm.
In a statement on Thursday night, gardaí confirmed that “the male who was arrested and detained by An Garda Síochána investigating this fatal assault has now been released from this detention.
“This male has been eliminated from Garda enquiries and is no longer a suspect.”
‘A woman’s worst nightmare’
The man had been arrested shortly after Ms Murphy was attacked along the canal bank at Cappincur, Tullamore at about 4pm on Wednesday.
Speaking to Midlands 103 radio this morning, Ms McEntee said: “I spoke to the Garda Commissioner this morning, in constant contact with him, to make sure that anything they need, anything that is required to carry out this investigation and to find who has done this to Ashling and that they’re brought to justice.”
Ms McEntee declined to discuss any details of the investigation but said: “What’s important here is that the gardaí are able to carry out their investigation.”
She said that the investigation involved “engaging with the people, it’s taking interviews, it’s gathering evidence where possible, it’s forensic evidence where possible, which thankfully over recent years has become central to cases, it’s the renewed call they have made to people to come forward if they have any kind of information…”
She reiterated Garda calls for people to come forward if they had any information about a distinctive mountain bike and said that if anyone had dashcam footage that “perhaps that might have been able to pick up anything happening” that they should come forward to the gardaí.
“People want to know that the right person is caught and the right person is brought to justice,” she said.
She said it was “very difficult to get your head around” the fact that the murder took place in an area where people felt safe, but added that most violence against women was carried out by “someone they know… in her home”.
She said that a “cultural change” was needed to establish a culture of “zero tolerance” towards violence against women.
She described the attack as “a woman’s worst nightmare” and said the killer would be caught. She shared people’s “anger” over the killing, which was committed in a public place “that local people felt was always safe”.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said while the murder of Ms Murphy in Tullamore, Co Offaly, had caused “real fear” across the country, such attacks were “relatively rare” and Ireland was “a safe society”.
The murder investigation was continuing on Thursday night as people in Tullamore expressed their shock and anger at the killing.
The motive for the attack is unclear but gardaí believe it was random and that the killer acted alone. No evidence of a sexual assault has emerged to date.
Ms Murphy had spent the day teaching at Durrow National School just outside Tullamore, where she was the first class teacher. After finishing her work she went to exercise on the canal towpath, a regular routine for her, and was attacked there.
She was still alive when paramedics arrived but efforts to save her were not successful and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is understood two women arrived on the scene, on the opposite side of the canal. They witnessed the fatal assault and saw the attacker fleeing. They gave a description of the attacker to gardaí. In a follow-up operation on Wednesday evening the man now cleared of suspicion was arrested and had been held until late on Thursday night.
Durrow National School principal James Hogan told The Irish Times the staff had been “overwhelmed” with all of the messages they had received after Ms Murphy’s murder.
“We’re highly devastated,” he said, adding Ms Murphy was a personal friend as he had grown up playing traditional music with her. “She was fantastic, a tremendous teacher and she had a shining light about her. First class idolised her, the kids are just heartbroken. There’s been a lot of tears here today.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.
A spokeswoman added: “As the recently appointed Chief of Staff, it is normal for foreign ambassadors to pay routine courtesy calls. This is one of a series of meetings. Such meetings are a matter for the chief of staff, not the minister. There is no ongoing military cooperation with Russia and there is no intention to do so.”
A spokesman for the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has not responded yet to the tweet.
Live fire exercise
Independent TD Cathal Berry said he believed the meeting has to do with a proposed naval exercise that the Russian navy intends to undertake in February.
The live firing exercise will happen 240km off the Irish coast outside Irish territorial waters, but within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Irish Aviation Authority has sent a notification to air traffic control in Ireland stating that the live firing exercises will take place between February 3rd and 8th and between 5am and 3pm on those days. The area in question is off the southwest coast.
The IAA states that “pursuant to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)annexs 11,15 and for safety of air traffic in the area you are kindly requested to issue international notam (a notice to airmen) to temporarily close above area for flights from surface to 11,000 metres”.
Dr Berry, a former army ranger, said the live firing exercise, while being legal, is a “warning to Ireland that we are military weak”.
He believed it was designed as an international provocation as it is close to flight paths and underwater submarine cables.
The Irish talks took place while negotiations ended between Russia and the United States in Geneva without agreement.
There are fears that Russia will invade Ukraine after Moscow massed tens of thousands of troops at the border, while the west has ramped up supplies of weapons to Kyiv.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met for about 90 minutes in Geneva at what the American diplomat said was a “critical moment”. Expectations had been low going in, and there was no breakthrough.
Mr Blinken told Mr Lavrov the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week, and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that – offering some hope that any invasion would be delayed for at least a few more days.
British Land reveals the opening of its new 1.5-acre Exchange Square located at Broadgate in the City of London. Designed by architects DSDHA, the park quadruples the amount of green space at Broadgate and creates a new outdoor space for workers and the wider community to enjoy in the capital. Exchange Square is now open to the public and includes 420m² of lawned areas, an exciting mix of planting and trees within its gardens, an amphitheatre with plenty of seating, and new retail and event space.
It aims to blend nature with the energy of London and promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of people who live and work in the local area. As spring approaches, the park will become a haven for workers looking to enjoy high-quality outdoor spaces when working from the office, and for the local community to enjoy a range of plants and biodiversity. The park’s range of planting is maintained by Exchange Square’s Head Gardener and is expected to be a popular choice for workers looking to make the most of premium outdoor space.
Health and wellbeing form a vital part of the €1.8bn (£1.5bn) investment in Broadgate to create an environment that brings people together to work, shop, drink and dine. Research commissioned by British Land shows that putting good design at the heart of urban development could lead to substantial improvement in peoples’ mental health, which would result in substantial economic rewards.
David Lockyer, Head of Campuses, British Land said: “As we start the New Year, Exchange Square aims to create an accessible, sustainable and better-quality place for workers and residents in the community in 2022 and beyond. Broadgate has undergone a significant transformation as a mixed-use destination that appeals to everyone. We hope that by creating a new outdoor area filled with green space, it allows visitors to find a tranquil place within a busy capital.”
Matthew Webster, Head of Environmental, British Land, said: “Exchange Square is a brilliant addition to London’s green spaces, and has a unique position within the City of London. Creating opportunities for people to encounter nature as part of their daily lives boosts wellbeing and productivity. This new, green space has been designed to enhance both physical and mental health in a variety of ways – through providing an area for tranquillity, opportunities for social interaction or through encouraging and making it easy for people to visit and move through the space.”
Deborah Saunt, Founding Director of DSDHA, said: “With Exchange Square, we are delighted to see the culmination of our Public Realm Framework for Broadgate, which has already enhanced and better connected the open spaces of Broadgate Circle, Broadgate Plaza and Finsbury Avenue Square. Our ambition for this new park was to create a landscape that nurtures both plants and people through retrofitting nature into the heart of the City, breaking down perceived barriers to the surrounding areas, and offering a space that provides opportunities for both recuperation and recreation.”
Purple may not have graced our homes much since the psychedelic era of the 1970s, but all is set to change this year.
That is, at least, if we decide to follow Pantone’s recommendation. The world’s leading colour trend forecaster has controversially selected Very Peri, a shade inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower, as the colour of 2022.
It may seem like an odd choice when we’re still embracing muted tones and understated interiors.
But Pantone’s annual colour choices wield huge influence with fabric and paint manufacturers and also among interior designers keen to deliver the latest looks.
Love it or loathe it: Pantone’s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower
Pantone says Very Peri embodies ‘carefree confidence and a daring curiosity’. Such assertions are another reason why some interior designers will not be recommending Very Peri.
One remarked: ‘None of my clients would want purple in their homes, especially in the corner that they’ve set aside for their desk.’
Others are more positive, praising its effectiveness in almost any space.
Andrew Dunning, of London Contemporary, says that it represents a further move away from the Elephant’s Breath, the mid-grey Farrow & Ball paint that held sway in interiors in the early years of this century.
As a champion of the deft use of patterned wallpapers and brighter colours, Dunning considers Very Peri to be warm rather than chilly, particularly if furnishing fabric companies produce a lush velvet in the shade.
‘People have been scared of colour, but I think Very Peri could work well in a ‘wow’ piece like an accent armchair upholstered in the shade,’ he says. ‘It’s also an option for a cloakroom, a smaller place in the home in which you can be more audacious.’
Beth Travers, of Bobo1325, a Manchester design business, also argues that we should lower our resistance to the colour purple.
Its historic links with royalty endow the colour with ‘luxury, power and nobility’. Since Very Peri is a blue tone of purple, Travers believes it can be ‘relaxing and soothing’.
Paula Taylor, of Graham & Brown, the paint company whose range includes the purple-blue Tanzanite, also thinks going bold could bring decor dividends.
Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com
‘Our Tanzanite used in a hallway would make visitors feel reassured and joyful. In a living room, it would be crisp but comforting, especially when teamed with one of our soft-whites, such as Baked Cheesecake, for a more timeless effect.’
The warm reception to Very Peri — in some quarters at least — could indicate that the shade will become an important part of the rise of blues and greens, a movement that began this year.
Simone Suss, of Studio Suss, a London design business, says this is connected to the wish to bring nature into our homes.
Such is the growing demand to introduce more elements of the great outdoors in the interior that more housebuilders will be prioritising ‘biophilic’ elements in their developments next year.
‘I am always inspired by the natural world,’ says Suss. ‘ I think biophilic design will be key in 2022.’
The other shades vying for supremacy in 2022 include Dulux’s selection Bright Skies, an airy blue that aims to inspire hope. Dulux recommends several palettes to accompany Bright Skies such as Greenhouse.
This array of blues and greens encompasses Fresh Foliage and Calming Meadow.
Breakfast Room Green, a cheery tone ideal for kitchens, and Stone Blue, a light indigo, are among the five shades that Farrow & Ball is tipping as the colours of 2022.
The company is also backing the elegant School House White, along with Incarnadine, a dramatic crimson, and Babouche, a sunny yellow.
F&B senses people are ready to step outside their comfort zone which could augur well for Very Peri.
But, in the short term, this shade seems less likely to suddenly explode than to be seen in small touches, such as Dark Flowers, a £23.95 poster print featuring sultry purple blooms from Desenio and purple cushions, such as the £25 cotton velvet cushion from Cotswold Company.
Loaf’s Joelle £2,345 19th-century style bed is available with a purple headboard for those who aspire to a more formal, almost regal setting after the pared-down aesthetic of the past two decades. But experimenting with Very Peri does not necessarily mean a break with the past.
It can look smart with any shade of beige or grey. Going with purple requires confidence. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for Very Peri over the next 12 months.
Savings of the week! Draught excluders
William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes
The draught excluder, a long sausage-shaped pillow placed at the foot of a door, is a low-tech, planet-friendly means of staying cosy indoors.
This utilitarian item seems to inspire creativity among designers meaning that you can have warmth, plus aesthetic appeal.
Low-cost options include the Kaia from The Range in charcoal, reduced from £11.99 to £10.99 and the Plush Bear in mustard at £5.59, down from £6.99.
Not On The High Street’s cheery blue and red plaid version, pictured left, is reduced from £22 to £11.
The Snap Croc from Dora, a mid-price option, is down from £32 to £9.60.
It resembles a crocodile whose aggression focuses on warding off chills. Wayfair’s Emmett excluder, with its prints of bees and ladybirds, reduced from £28.99 to £26.99 would lift any decor.
If you want to splash out, William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes. The widest (99cm) is £40.80, from £48.