A mother who was arrested in relation to allegations that her child suffered sexual abuse over a period of five years from the age of four has been released from custody without charge.
The sickening allegations were made by the now 10-year-old girl to specialist child care workers from the HSE after she was removed from the Tallaght home of her alcoholic mother last year.
All seven people who were arrested as part of the investigation have been released without charge.
A file is being prepared for the the Director of Public Prosecutions.
These seven people included the girl’s mother, who is from Eastern Europe.
The arrests occurred early yesterday morning in Dublin and Wexford.
Those arrested were two women aged in their 40s, and five men from Eastern Europe ranging in ages from 19 years to 47 years.
They were detained in a number of stations in the south Dublin area.
But they were released today with files being prepared for the DPP.
The shocking case emerged around six months ago when the child – who was taken into HSE care last year – spoke to social workers about the years of sustained sexual abuse.
The alleged offences are not thought to have taken place at the house in Tallaght but at a number of locations on the north and south side of the city.
A source said: “Gardai believe that the child's allegations are credible.
“It is not thought she accepted money for the abuse of the little girl – instead all the information that is there points to the fact that she did it to get free alcohol from the culprits.
“She is a chronic alcoholic – it is believed that her little girl was raped by these men over a prolonged period when she was aged between four and nine.
“It is understood that the woman was also having sex with these men and was then essentially offering up her daughter for sex with them as well.”
The mother, who is in her 40s, has a number of other children by different fathers and all are now also in HSE care.
Gardai are investigating if they were also abused although there is no evidence of this yet.
The now 10-year-old has been able to assist officers with identifying the men involved, as well as her mother and her mother's friend, who was “facilitating” the alleged rapes.
Local residents were last night shocked by the claims of a sex ring operating in the area.
“It's a hard enough place around here, it's a working-class area but, messing with kids – the locals wouldn't tolerate that,” said one resident.
“She was tall and good looking. She was always very pleasant – you wouldn't suspect her of anything,” said a female neighbour about the mother of the alleged victim.
By Ken Foy and Joyce Fegan