Gardaí believe a child was brought by her mother to “drinking parties” where she was systematically raped over the course of five years.
The mother was one of seven people — five men and two women — arrested yesterday morning following an intensive six-month Garda operation.
Six people, including the mother, are from eastern Europe, while a seventh is a British national living in Ireland.
The girl, now aged 12, was taken into care last August after which she began to disclose her ordeal to HSE workers.
Child psychologists and psychiatrists talked to the girl and conducted assessments. Over a period of time, specialist Garda child interviewers spoke to her to establish the veracity of her claims and corroborate them.
The Garda team, based at the district detective unit at Sundrive Garda Station, south Dublin, examined the various locations of the alleged attacks.
They then identified suspects, including her mother, an alcoholic, and her brother, the girl’s uncle.
“The mother used to go to drinking parties with friends and they had sex with the child,” said a Garda source. “She was offered up to them.”
Gardaí established that the reign of abuse took place between 2007 and 2012, when the child was aged between six and 11. They believe the worst of the assaults occurred between 2008 and 2011.
Detectives compiled briefing files and liaised with the HSE in their inquiries.
Yesterday morning, the seven suspects were arrested at homes in Dublin and Wexford. The men arrested are aged between 19 and 47 years, while the two women are aged in their 40s.
They were arrested under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006. They are being detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. They can be held for up to 24 hours, excluding rest periods and breaks.
Gardaí must then release the suspects or charge them. Officers were last night in consultation with the DPP.
Detectives are putting the statements to the various suspects and hope to glean evidence which would help corroborate the girl’s statements.
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