The Minister for Further and Higher Education has told a vigil in memory of schoolteacher Ashling Murphy that men need to stand up and take action against misogyny and violence against women.
Minister Simon Harris last night told hundreds of people gathered with candles on the grounds of Ms Murphy’s alma mater, Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick, that men must do more.
“I wanted to be here because I’m a man, a father, and a politician, and I know that our gender, and our profession, need to do better, we need to do much more.
“As fathers of young sons, we have a duty in how we raise them, in how we ensure they are part of a cultural change. As politicians, we have got to change the system.”
Mr Harris became emotional as he encouraged those of Ms Murphy’s generation to keep shouting for change.
This change, the Minister affirmed, included his “duty to ensure that third level is safe, and that every single one of us, as men, must call out misogyny and we must stand up and speak out”.
President of Mary Immaculate College, Professor Eugene Wall, fought back tears as he welcomed Ms Murphy’s parents Kathleen and Raymond, sister Amy, brother Cathal, and her boyfriend Ryan.
He recalled how “almost four months ago on this day, Ashling emerged, happily clutching her degree parchment, having realised her long-held ambition to become a primary teacher”.
Mr Wall said her killing, while out jogging in Tullamore at 4pm on Wednesday, January 12, had “sent shockwaves throughout the entire nation and abroad”.
College chaplain, Fr Michael Wall, said the killing had presented a national outpouring of “confusion, anxiety, sadness, anger, and upheaval”.
Fr Wall said he hoped for direction and wisdom “for our legislators, our law enforcement people, our leaders and influencers, to make decisions that will lead to a better life for all”.
The Mayor of Limerick, Daniel Butler, said it was up to political leaders “to make decisions, and to make sure that the loss is not a futile one”.
“I know us – as men – must do better, and will do better.”
Maura Murray, a classmate from Tullamore, and who went on to study at MIC with Ms Murphy, fought back tears paying a heartfelt tribute to “our dearest friend, Ash”.
“All she ever wanted to do was to become a teacher, which she was born to do. Ashling loved he