By Joe Barrett
The first of the many candlelight vigils and walks to take place around Laois over the weekend in memory of murdered Ashling Murphy has just concluded.
Up to 750 people attended the event in the Memorial Park, Ridge Road, Portlaoise.
There was a palpable air of sadness among the crowd, of which the majority were women.
People spoke of their sadness and of the need to change legislation and for tougher sentences for those who commit crimes against women.
A local school teacher from Portlaoise Gaelscoil Aishling Uí Ruacháin said that she too loves to jog and was profoundly struck by what had happened to Ms Murphy.
She was accompanied by law student Cian Nic Gearailt as they sang a number of poignant songs.
Other candlelight vigils and memorial walks taking place around Laois over the weekend include ones in Stradbally, Ratheniska, Portarlington, Mountmellick, Durrow, Crettyard, Borris-in-Ossory, Ballinakill, Ballacolla and Abbeyleix. The days and times of these events can be viewed on the Laois Nationalist Facebook page or online at www.laoios-nationalist.ie