Detectives are to examine statements made by four teenagers, some as young as 14, after they were questioned in relation to the alleged rape of an underage girl at a seaside resort last July.
The four youths, including one vulnerable adult teenager and three minors, were arrested at around 7.30am today.
They were questioned in connection with an alleged attack on three girls, aged between 14 and 16, at Courtown, Co Wexford, just after midnight on July 28.
One of the three girls was allegedly raped in the incident, which happened in the Burrow area, a roadway and woodland on the shore of a sandy beach.
A Garda statement said officers had arrested four male teenagers, one adult and three juveniles, “on suspicion of rape”.
A range of evidence, including forensic evidence, has been gathered by the investigation team.
“The team had the evidence all checked and were ready to go and put the stuff to them, and forensics certainly formed part of that,” said one source.
It is understood the adult is 18 years old and that the three minors are aged between 14 and 15.
They are not from Wexford and are thought to be from neighbouring counties. Contrary to online speculation, they are not foreign nationals or migrants, but are Irish, sources confirmed.
Detectives will examine the statements made by the four suspects regarding evidence and questions put to them, to look for any admissions, inconsistencies or differences.
They were detained under section four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 which allows for a maximum period of 24 hours in custody, excluding sleep breaks.
It is understood the three girls, thought to be from Dublin, were holidaying in Courtown with their families at the time.
Garda family liaison officers were appointed to keep members and the victims informed of the progress of the investigation.
Specialist child interviewers were brought in to speak to the victims while experienced detectives, trained in interviewing, lead the questioning of the suspects.
Given that three of them are juveniles, the files will automatically be sent to the Garda Youth Diversion Bureau, but it is unlikely the cases will be deemed suitable.
In that scenario, the files will revert back to the district office, before being forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Investigating gardaí released a number of appeals as part of their investigation. This included an appeal to a male who is thought to have come to the assistance of the three girls on the night.