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The murder of Ashling Murphy changed Ireland, so why are we still going in circles on gender-based violence?

Violence against women is relentless, writes Una Mullally, as Rosita Boland hears the views of locals in Tullamore

Ashling Murphy's mother Kathleen and sister Amy with family and friends outside the Criminal Courts of Justice on Thursday after Jozef Puska was found guilty of her murder in January 2022. Photograph: Collins Courts

Welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best Irish Times journalism for our subscribers.

The murder of Ashling Murphy on Grand Canal way, Cappincur, Co Offaly, in the depths of winter last year, changed Ireland in some ways. It brought people out into the streets. It expanded the space for women to tell their own stories of fear, threats, violence. For women, it brought home the fact that someone they’ve never met can still enter a seemingly mundane scene in their daily life, and wreak devastation. It was meant to be a turning point, writes Una Mullally. But how many turning points do we need before we acknowledge that without a profound cultural shift, we’re going around in circles? “Not one more” was the sentiment at some vigils following the attack on Murphy. There was one more, then two, then three, then a dozen. Can this go on? What is wrong? Are we to take such wreckage as an inevitability? Are we really and truly doing enough in our society to stop violence against women? Read Una’s full column here.

On Thursday, Jozef Puska, was convicted of the murder of the 23-year-old school teacher. He now faces a mandatory life sentence. A couple of minutes after the verdict was handed down, members of the public on the streets of Tullamore, close to where Murphy was killed, began to digest the news. Rosita Boland was in the Co Offaly town to hear local reaction to “the verdict everyone wanted to hear”.

Separately, the Molly and Thomas Martens case attracted much attention this week. The father and daughter were sentenced to serve between seven months and 30 months in prison over the August 2015 killing of Limerick businessman Jason Corbett. The two were led away in handcuffs from a court in Lexington, North Carolina, on Wednesday afternoon following an eight-day sentencing hearing. But what really happened in the run-up to Corbett’s killing? Brian Carroll writes that detectives suspect Molly Martens carefully planned recordings and events leading up to the night that she and her father Thomas, a former FBI agent, beat the Limerick man to death.


In other stories exclusively for subscribers this weekend:

Elsewhere, David McWilliams takes aim at low interest rates, which he says allowed the rise of companies and ventures that lacked solid business plans. He highlights three recent cases: the bankruptcy of WeWork, the collapse of the NFT market, and the imprisonment of Sam Bankman-Fried after the disintegration of his crypto empire. If the cost of money, or the rate of interest, is held too low for too long, companies and businesses that would otherwise fail quickly are kept alive for far longer than they deserve, he says. This is what happened in the past 10 years. Now the evolutionary chickens are coming home to roost.

Roe McDermott responds to a reader who says that, following a trauma, she desperately needed her husband to be emotive, soft, caring and accepting but he was the opposite.

Food Month is under way at The Irish Times and continues through November. Along with our usual menu of restaurant reviews and recipes, we’ve had the essential list of 100 great places to eat in Ireland. As well as that, we ask, can you be addicted to food? We explore the secrets behind Ireland’s best artisan butter; and John Wilson pits Stanley Tucci’s perfect martini against some Irish versions of the classic cocktail.

In this week’s On the Money newsletter, Dominic Coyle talks pensions. Too few people are saving into pension schemes and, of those who are, too few of them are putting enough into those savings. But, he asks, Can your pension be too big? Sign up here to receive the newsletter straight to your inbox every Friday.

As always, there is much more on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants in our food section and all the latest in sport. There are plenty more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.

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