Republic of Ireland news

Man exposes himself during online vigil for Ashling Murphy

A red rose placed on the bridge across the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead after going for a run on Wednesday afternoon. Picture by David Young/PA Wire 
Cate McCurry, PA

A man hijacked an online vigil held for Ashling Murphy by exposing himself and appeared to masturbate live on camera.

One of the speakers was addressing issues around gender violence when the man crashed the Zoom vigil.

The online vigil had been organised for women who were not able to attend the street vigils across Ireland, for people who were isolating, parents and Irish women living abroad.

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old teacher, was found dead after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly on January 12.

Dozens of women took part in the event, which included music, poetry and speeches, drawing speakers and campaigners from a wide range of backgrounds.

Among those addressing the vigil was Traveller activist Rosemarie Maughan.

During the video call, a man joined using the name of one of the event’s organisers after a link to the event was posted online.

The man exposed himself to the group and appeared to masturbate before he was removed from the video call by one of the organisers.

The man then attempted several times to re-join the video call while the women were speaking about gender-based violence.

The organisers sent a full report of the incident to Zoom, and have requested the man’s information and Zoom account details.

The incident, which has been reported to gardai for further investigation, has been widely condemned.

Speaking in the Assembly today, Justice Minister Naomi Long condemned the instance of cyber flashing:

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: “Last night a group of women organised an online vigil, in honour of a woman who was killed last week, on a canal bank named after a missing woman and they still weren’t safe.

“We have deep problems. The first step is to accept that. For men in particular to accept that.”

Gardaí are still hunting for the killer of Ms Murphy.

Vigils have been taking place across Ireland and around the world, including in London, Dubai and Australia.

An Garda Siochana and Zoom have been contacted for comment.


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