By Peg Prendeville

There isn’t a person in Ireland who has not been touched or affected by the murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore last week. The whole country is in sympathy with the Murphy family as they bury their talented daughter today Tuesday 18th January. It has been the topic on many radio and TV programmes during the week. One comment stood out for me which was “It’s not ALL men but it’s ALWAYS men.” I am not against men – I am happily married to a good man, I have two good sons and I had a good father. But I did a little private survey yesterday and find that a large percentage of the women in my life, both family and friends, would have had reason to feel threatened by a man at some point in their lives. Doesn’t that make sad reading. I had to run for cover walking home from work after overtime one night while working in Dublin because a man kept following me. We should be able to live in a world where we do not have to be afraid of being mugged or raped or even jeered at. Many think that Ashling’s murder will change society and it would be nice to think so but, sadly, there will always be some bad apples in the world. But it would be nice to think there would be less from now on. “Incredible good can come from unspeakable evil” -a line from a book called “The Shack.” We also have to keep in mind the suffering of the family of the man who did the evil deed. They cannot be feeling good at this time. Neither can the perpetrator.

On a much more pleasant topic Jim and I and other family members took a walk on the Limerick Greenway from Abbeyfeale towards the Kerry bounds on Sunday last. It was a most beautiful day with clear blue skies. I could not believe how full the car park was at the Station house in Abbeyfeale. It seemed that everybody was out for the day. Thankfully the wheelchair space was free and we had a most pleasant walk along a spotless track, apart from one discarded mask by the verge. It was great to see so many happy faces, children on bikes, toddlers on trikes, all enjoying the freedom. We are lucky to have such an amenity close by. It was Jim’s first trip on a motor chair and it lifted his spirits also, although I had to force him to come out for the day. Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind!

We look forward to the easing of the restrictions of Covid 19 soon.