Irish society must urgently prioritise ending violence against women in the wake of Ashling Murphy’s murder, a leading authority on gender has said.
Yesterday, Jozef Puska was convicted of murdering the 23-year-old primary school teacher who had gone out for a run in Tullamore, County Offaly in January last year.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, UCD Director of Gender Studies Dr Mary McAuliffe said “justice has been served” and praised the Murphy family for their conduct during the trial.
“This person - and I think we really shouldn’t say his name again - has been sent down justly and he’s been found guilty for this horrendous murder,” she said.
“The dignity of Ashling’s family is extraordinary; the fact that they came there and saw justice done, I hope brings them some peace.
“I know their lives will never be the same again but it is good to see that justice was done.”
Ms Murphy’s murder triggered a wave of grief in Irish society, with thousands attending vigils all over the world to remember her.
If anything good can come out of her tragic death, Dr McAuliffe said she hopes it will lead to a renewed focus on tackling violence against women.
“We need to change how we think about violence against women in society, that it isn’t just happening now and again,” she said.
“It is a normalised part of Irish society and our conversation has to be now, how do we stop that?
“Not how do we reduce it, how do we mitigate it, how do women make themselves safe because that’s putting it all back on women again, but how do we actually stop that?
“I think we are having those conversations more so now than perhaps before and hopefully that will be the good, if there can be good, that will come out of this horrendous crime.”
Dr McAuliffe said change starts with young people and they need to be educated about violence against women and other forms of misogyny.
“We have to start with schools, we have to start with young people and particularly young boys and men and talk to them about toxic masculinity,” she said.
“Talk to them about how they treat women, how they look at women, how they treat themselves, how violence is not the answer.”
Ms Murphy’s killer will automatically receive a life sentence when he is sentenced by the judge next week.
Main image: Women hold photos of Ashling Murphy outside Dáil Éireann in Dublin as part of a vigil. Picture by: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie