The Garda Commissioner said he acknowledged people’s “real fear and concern” following Ashling Murphy’s fatal attack but reassured them Ireland was a “safe society” and that this type of attack was “relatively rare”.
Speaking outside Tullamore Garda Station in daylight after the killing of the 23-year-old teacher, Commissioner Harris said the investigation was “making progress” and that the necessary resources were in place to ensure a thorough investigation.
His comments come as questioning of a murder suspect continues.
Sources said that if the suspect chose to take his sleep break, the detention time could last until 9am on Friday.
However, officers did not expect him to rest and expected him to be either charged or released from custody in the early hours of the morning.
Lead investigators were in regular contact with the chief prosecutor to determine if they had sufficient evidence to press charges.
It is understood that extensive forensic and DNA testing will be carried out on the clothing the suspect was found in and on his body.
What happened in the attack is still unclear. People who have already contacted Gardaí, including those who raised the alarm, are understood to have witnessed the aftermath of the incident.
It’s also unclear if a weapon was used, but a search is underway for possible items.
Commissioner Harris offered his condolences to the Murphy family and said it was An Garda Síochána’s duty to conduct a “thorough investigation” and bring those responsible for “this horrific attack” to justice.
He said the necessary resources, including local and national gardaí, are in place, adding: “The investigation is making progress.”
He said Gardaí had received a lot of support from the public and urged people to continue to submit information.
He appealed to people who had spotted a bike in the past few days – a “Falcon Storm” mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks.
He asked if anyone lost or stole the bike or who sold it to contact her.
Sources said they were investigating whether the suspect had been using the bike that day or before.
The Commissioner said he wanted to reassure people that Ireland was a “safe society” despite Wednesday’s horrific events.
He said that as the inquiry progressed, they could say more about community and society assurances and “what more could be done to make society a safer place for women and everyone.”
He said the organization has invested heavily in patrol strength and specialized investigative units.
“Of course we have to take stock afterwards,” he said.
The site of the fatal attack remains sealed off and is on a popular local walking route between a canal bridge and a canal lock house at Boland’s Lock, about a kilometer from the town centre.
An interim room was set up at Garda Station in Tullamore and more than 50 Gardaí were assigned to the investigation, including personnel from national special forces, including the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.
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