GARDAI are investigating the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl in the back of a van by one of two young men she met hours earlier in a busy shopping complex.
Officers in Limerick are attempting to identify the culprits who befriended the teenager at the Crescent shopping centre in the city before the suspected sexual assault.
The Irish Independent understands that investigating officers are concentrating their inquiries in the Limerick area.
The teenager was in the Crescent shopping centre in the Dooradoyle suburb of Limerick with friends earlier this week when they met the two young men.
The Crescent is the largest shopping complex in the region and is extremely popular with teenagers.
It is suspected that the two men – who are believed to be aged in their late teens or early 20s – met and spoke to the girl and befriended her inside the shopping complex.
After speaking with them for a short period, she was then taken to a van by the two men which was parked in the car park.
It is understood that she claims that she was raped by one of the two men in the back of the van within hours of meeting them.
The victim was medically treated at a sexual assault unit following her ordeal.
She will make a detailed statement to officers when deemed sufficiently able for it.
The Crescent shopping centre is equipped with a detailed CCTV system and investigating officers have been studying footage from both inside and outside the complex.
Officers are also attempting to identify the registered owner of the vehicle inside which the alleged rape took place.
Investigating gardai are continuing with their inquiries this weekend.
Gardai are satisfied that the incident is in no way connected to a series of reports throughout the region where a van driver is said to have approached young children in a bid to lure them inside the vehicle.