Hundreds turn out at Mayo lakeside in display of solidarity with Ashling Murphy
Hundreds of women, men and children gathered at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar, to pay tribute to 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, the victim of a fatal assault in Tullamore last Wednesday.
In a strong show of solidarity, they carried candles and gathered around a memorial erected in Ashling's honour at the site of the old diving board.
Organised by members of the Castlebar Community Clean-up Group in association with Mayo.ie, the vigil was both solemn and poignant in a serene setting.
Councillor Donna Sheridan, one of the organisers of the event, spoke movingly to the attendance.
She said no words could adequately describe the sense of shock and sorrow that primary school teacher Ashling's tragic death had evoked over the past number of days.
She extended her heartfelt sympathy to the Murphy family, Ashling's friends, her pupils, her colleagues and the community of Tullamore.
"Our hearts are broken for all of them."
Councillor Sheridan thanked the people of Castlebar and surrounding areas for turning out in such big numbers.
She said they selected Lough Lannagh as the venue for the vigil because it is used by so many women for their daily walks and runs.
"It's my sincere wish that this tragedy will mark a watershed moment in Irish society in terms of ending such violent acts perpetrated against women," she added.
A number of other elected members were in attendance, including Councillor Martin McLoughlin, cathaoirleach, Castlebar Municipal District, and Councillor Blackie Gavin, a member of the organising committee.
The vigil drew to a close as people placed candles at the memorial dedicated to Ashling.
Meanwhile, An Garda Siochana has issued a statement outlining that significant progress has been made in the investigation to date.
"An Garda Síochána is not confirming any specific details for operational reasons.
"An Garda Síochána continue to support Ashling's family at this time.
"The Murphy family are appreciative and overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them.
"The Murphy family have requested that they now need privacy, space and time to process Ashling's death.
"An Garda Síochána wishes to acknowledge the support of the public to date and in order to assist the public in providing information to the investigation team a dedicated phone line 057 9357060 has been established at Tullamore Garda station.
"An Garda Síochána continue to appeal to any person who has not made contact with the investigation team and who has any information on this fatal assault to come forward."
VIDEO: BY ALISON LAREDO