Staff member Joan Coughlan and colleagues from Cork City Hall vaccination centre light a candle in memory of Ashling Murphy.Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Will Ashling’s death bring real change?

Will this be a tipping point? You would certainly like to think so, but I don’t know how truly hopeful you could be.

The shocking death of primary school teacher Ashling Murphy in Tullamore last week has unleashed something and coverage of the garda investigation, the fallout and reaction to her brutal slaying and her funeral has been all-encompassing.

Last Wednesday afternoon, the 23 year old was attacked and killed on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore.

Vigils took place all over the country last Friday, over the weekend and this week too in the aftermath. There were many vigils all over Cork too.

Last Sunday, I was driving at a few different times during the day. I put the radio on and listened to different talk radio stations in the morning, early afternoon and early evening. At nearly every point there were talking about the death of Ms Murphy.

And for the early afternoon and early evening slots, it was sports shows broadcast on RTÉ 1 and Newstalk. The sports shows didn’t shy away from it, but tried to cover it in varied and thoughtful ways. Being sports shows, there was an extra focus on the fact that Ashling had been out for a run when she was murdered. The reports by women of how dangerous going for a run can be in Ireland was pretty shocking. It’s nothing something a man needs to think about very much, so we don’t.

But then there’s lots of times that men don’t have to think like women do; men don’t have to automatically assess situations for potential dangers and threats to their health or life. Women constantly have to evaluate and weigh up risk in a way men usually don’t have to. And women on the radio pointed out details like taking different routes when they go for runs, bringing a phone with them and letting people know where they are and when they would be back.

It’s bad enough feeling you have to do stuff like that on a night out, but to have to do it during the day seems so much worse to me.

What will actually change as a result of another senseless death? I don’t know but hopefully the attention that has been focussed on the vulnerability of women in Ireland will help some men to stop intimidating women, even if they don’t mean to. Perhaps more men will realise just how many steps women have to take to try and ensure their own safety and can try and make that easier.

The Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan put it well during the funeral mass: “It has questioned our attitudes and, particularly, our attitudes towards women and it has questioned our values and our morality. We all know that no individual should die like Ashling and no family should suffer like Ashling’s.”

Will there be some positive outcome to this tragic death?