The Dingle woman who witnessed the sexual act during a personal online tribute to Ashling Murphy was left feeling ‘shocked and upset’
A Dingle woman has spoken of her upset and disgust at witnessing a man masturbate during a live, online vigil for the late Ashling Murphy.
Musician Dr Aoife Granville was invited to play, along with other musicians, as part of an online tribute to Ashling’s memory given the Tullamore woman’s connection with the traditional Irish music scene.
However, onlookers were shocked when a man, using multiple login names, started performing a sexual act at a point when one of the speakers was talking about the importance of educating young men on their attitudes towards women.
Close to 100 people were tuned in at the time, and the man’s actions caused tremendous upset to those who witnessed it. Aoife said later on, when one of the organisers of the event revealed what had happened on Twitter, she was shocked to discover some men were downplaying and trivialising the incident.
“It was sick. There were families watching this. I was very disturbed and upset about it,” said Aoife.
“I knew Ashling to see, like I would have known a lot of her generation of musicians. It was very upsetting when I first heard of her death as I know a lot of the people in the Tullamore music circle. I would have been very emotional going into that tribute to begin with, and then to think that someone could be so callous,” she added.
Aoife said she initially thought about including younger musicians in the tribute to reflect Ashling’s role as a music teacher, but is glad she did not given what happened. The hacking of online events with sexual acts is a common occurrence. But under the circumstances, this act was even more vile than would usually be the case.
“The traditional music community is a very small circle and we’re all very connected, especially in the Comhaltas scene,” said Aoife.
“In Dingle, we used to run a trad fest, and the Tullamore gang used to come down to us. I would have seen Ashling and her sister, Amy, play. While she wasn’t long a primary teacher, Ashling had been teaching music for a number of years.
“I know the special bond that exists between children and their music teacher, so I know those little kids are so upset right now,” said Aoife.