By Cormac O’Keeffe
Eleven people — six women and five men — have been arrested in relation to a suspected child sex abuse ring in Limerick.
Those arrested are across the generations, some as young as their 20s and include people in their 70s.
Gardaí say the abuse occurred in the Newcastle West Garda District.
It is understood this operation relates to a small number of child victims but that it is part of a much wider investigation into the ring, which is ongoing.
Gardaí are investigating how long the abuse has been going on.
In an operation combining gardaí from several districts and detectives from a recently-established regional specialist unit, arrests were conducted in Limerick, Tipperary, and Kerry.
In a statement, the Garda Press Office said members from Newcastle West, Bruff, Henry Street, Mayorstone Park, and Roxboro Road stations conducted the arrests, in conjunction with the Limerick Divisional Protective Services Unit.
The unit is one of four divisional units set up in different parts of the country last year, attached to the National Protective Services Bureau.
The local units mirror the work of the national units and investigate sexual abuse against adults and children, domestic violence, human trafficking, and prostitution.
The Garda statement said six women and five men, ranging in ages 20s to 70s, were arrested as part of an investigation into “alleged sexual exploitation of children who were resident in the Newcastle West Garda District”.
It said the arrests were across three countries (Limerick, Tipperary, and Kerry) and that they were detained in various stations in Limerick, Cork ad Clare.
They are detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and can be held for a maximum period of 24 hours, excluding breaks.
- Irish Examiner