Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Paedophile Ring Under Investigation (ÉIRE)

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has described the investigation into an alleged paedophile ring in Dublin as a 'very disturbing and worrying matter'.

Mr Ahern said the investigation was at a critical stage and was being treated by gardaí as a very serious case. He added that it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny suggested that mobile phone companies should be contacted to see if certain words or cominations of words could be blocked from text messages, as was done with computers in schools.

He said this case was the 'worst nightmare' for parents and that a 'certain seediness' had crept into Irish society.

Gardaí believe as many as ten men could be involved in the alleged ring which had abused or was preparing to abuse a 14-year-old boy in north Dublin.

One of them is a 21-year-old probationer garda serving in a south Co Dublin station.

He has already been interviewed under caution and was suspended from duty last night.

Two men in their 40s, a teacher and a truck driver, have already been arrested and questioned.

The boy made a detailed statement to detectives in Coolock in which he outlined a number of incidents of rape and sexual abuse and took them to a number of places including car parks where he says the abuse took place.

It came to light after his mother found inappropriate texts on his phone and brought him to the gardaí last Wednesday.

The children's charity, CARI, has said paedophile rings are not uncommon in Ireland.

It said calls to its helpline regarding allegations of abuse from multiple perpetrators has increased in the past year.

CARI has advised parents to talk to their children on how to cope if approached by a stranger or solicited to do something that feels wrong by someone they know.

Two arrests in investigation

Already a large quantity of information is emerging from the investigation, which is less than a week old.

Gardaí identified a number of men who appeared to have a sexual interest in the child; one of them is the probationer garda.

Last Friday he was summoned to Tallaght Garda Station (not his station), cautioned and interviewed about his relationship with the boy.

Also at the weekend the two men who allegedly abused the boy were arrested and questioned by detectives at Swords Garda Station, where the incident room is based.

The boy at the centre of the investigation is still attending school.

It is believed that once he was identified as vulnerable to paedophiles, his name and number was passed on and the other men sought him out.

The abuse investigation involves detectives from Coolock and Swords assisted by the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.

Investigating officers believe a number of men will be brought before the courts on charges of sexual abuse and procurement.



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