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Placards, candles and flowers outside the Dáil this morning. Sasko Lazarov
zoom vigil

'Vile and disgusting': Online vigil for Ashling Murphy interrupted by man exposing himself

Contact has been made with gardaí over the incident.

ORGANISERS OF AN online vigil in memory of murdered primary school teacher Ashling Murphy have described how a man crashed the Zoom event and exposed himself and appeared to masturbate.

Evie Nevin, one of the vigil organisers, said gardaí had been contacted over the incident.

She said he was “relentless” in logging back onto the event after first exposing himself.

“In any circumstance it is vile, but to do it during a vigil for a woman who has just died, I don’t understand the kind of person who could do that,” Nevin told TheJournal.

The online event was arranged for anyone who has been unable to attend the many in-person memorials held around the country since Thursday evening.

The evening of music, poetry and speeches from women of diverse backgrounds was moderated by Rosemarie Maughan, Accommodation Policy Officer with the Irish Traveller Movement.

Other panellists included singer Emma Langford, political activist and journalist Christine O’Mahony, poet Kathy D’Arcy, and author Erin Darcy.

“Just as she [Maughan] was talking about the fact that young men and boys need to be told what isn’t appropriate behaviour, he exposed himself on camera, and not just exposed himself but masturbated,” said Nevin.

“It’s really hard to articulate just how violated, disgusted, and angry we felt. At the time it felt like he was on the screen forever, but it was a short time, though he kept logging back on.

“Each time he was kicked off. He was determined, but he never got another chance to turn on his camera. The minute he got in, he was booted again.”

Reacting to the incident this morning, Maughan tweeted: “We can’t even mourn the murder of one of us without being attacked.

“I am sick to my stomach, can’t get the image out of my mind. He on the other hand is most likely laughing, feeling powerful. Well, watch how powerful you are when held accountable for your vile actions.”

In a series of tweets after the event, Emma Langford said: “Well done on meeting the absolute base minimum for being a decent human. Now start calling your scumbag friends out, because this guy I imagine has friends, this guy has somehow been enabled and emboldened by others to do this. I’m sickened.”

The organisers understand the man in question was able to keep joining the event after getting access to the Zoom link meant for panellists rather than general attendees.

“It wasn’t any sort of sophisticated hacking,” said Nevin.

The thing that is weighing most on my mind at the moment is Ashling’s family knowing about this, that someone disrespected her memory in such a vile and disgusting way. I really feel for them, I’m really angry it happened, and I’m sorry it happened and if it added to any of their pain. They’re already in enough pain, the thought of them hearing about that is gut-wrenching.

Nevin said she will be reporting the incident to gardaí under Section 45 of the Sexual Offences Act which relates to exposure and offensive conduct of a sexual nature.

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