Specialist gardaí have received allegations that a five-year-old girl may have been subjected to potential “sexualised behaviour” involving up to three boys aged between seven and 10.
The alleged attack is said to have happened in a shed of a derelict house in the northern part of the country.
Sources said the claims have not yet been examined nor the facts established.
The allegations were reported to gardaí at the end of June and referred to the divisional Protective Services Unit — which investigate sexual and violent offences against children and adults.
The Irish Examiner understands gardaí may not proceed with an investigation and the matter may be solely examined by Tusla as a child protection case.
Gardaí can only proceed if there is a formal statement from the girl, with the permission of parents. If there was an offence, criminal responsibility does not apply to children under the age of 12.
There are allegations that one of the boys had a stick, but it could not be confirmed if it was used to hit the girl. It is thought the girl was not physically injured.
An initial statement by the Garda Press Office said: “An Garda Síochána are investigating an alleged incident which occurred at the end of June 2019. An Garda Síochána is making no further comment on the matter.
Tusla said it did not comment on individual cases.
It said that, generally, where an alleged incident involved a number of children all the children would be screened and assessed.