Parish Priest of Mountbolus, Fr. Michael Meade, addresses mourners at the funeral of Ashling Murphy this morning.

Bishop makes heartfelt plea for "respect" at funeral of Ashling Murphy

Bishop Tom Deenihan has made a heartfelt plea for people to “respect each other” at the funeral Mass of 23-year-old Offaly school teacher, Ashling Murphy which is taking place in the parish church of St. Brigid in Mount Bolus this morning.

Delivering a message on behalf of the people and priests of the Diocese of Meath, Bishop Deenihan referred to the last few days as “a nightmare” and said “no individual should die like Ashling and no family should suffer like Ashling’s.“

He said “respect is an old-fashioned word, but it is an important word” and he added that “respect was missing last Wednesday but it has re-emerged here all the stronger. Let us respect each other.”

He said the horrific murder of the young teacher “has also asked questions of ourselves and of society” particularly in relation to our attitudes to women, our values and our morality”.

“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 to take root in our time and culture,” he said.

In his address to mourners, Bishop Deenihan also referred to the New Year’s Day Homily delivered just two weeks ago by Pope Francis, which described violence against women as “an insult to God.”

Chief celebrant at the Funeral Mass, and Parish Priest of Kilcomac & Killoughey, Mount Bolus, Fr Michael Meade, said the Murphy family and Ashling’s boyfriend, Ryan, had been robbed of their “most precious gift, - a gift that gave only joy and love, fun and laughter” to both her family and to the many groups and organisations she was involved in.

“Today we grieve, we pray, we hurt – this is the heavy price we pay for love” said Fr. Meade, who also prayed that “the issues raised in many ways and by many voices” since the horrific murder of Ashling Murphy will “continue to evolve and bring the change we need so much, to simply give and show respect” he said.

During the Prayers of the Faithful, prayers were said for the emergency services, and for the young teacher’s “friends, colleagues and students in Ballyboy Comhaltas, Kilcormac, Killoughey Camogie club and Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Durrow.

Prayers were also said that the many vigils which have been held in her memory “mark the beginning of an end to violence against women” and that the candlelight tributes “bring an everlasting hope to all those who live in fear.”

Among the dignitaries in attendance at the funeral today included President Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Sabina, An Taoiseach Michéal Martin; Minister for Education, Norma Foley and Minister for Arts and Culture, Catherine Martin.

Symbols brought to the altar to signify her “rich and full life” included a fiddle, a family photograph, a jersey from Kilcomac Killoughey and a hurley to signify her love of camogie.