The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by a number of men over five years allowed the abuse to occur in exchange for free alcohol, it is understood.
Gardai are investigating allegations the schoolgirl suffered vile sexual abuse over a period of five years from the age of four.
A total of seven people - including the mother - were being questioned by gardai throughout today.
The sickening allegations were made by the now 10-year-old to specialist child care workers from the HSE, after she was removed from the Tallaght home of her alcoholic mother last year.
Yesterday, after a detailed six month investigation, officers arrested the girl's Eastern European mother and another woman, as well as five men who are believed to have sexually abused the child.
The five males in garda custody are four Eastern European nationals and a UK national.
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.
Gardai are now investigating if any of the child's other siblings were also abused — they too are in HSE care, however there is no evidence of this yet.
A source explained: “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.”
A garda spokesperson said: “The arrests occurred early yesterday morning in Dublin and Wexford. The two women are aged in their 40s and the five men are ranging in ages from 19 years to 47 years.”
It is understood that one of the suspects only moved to Co Wexford from Dublin in recent months.
The mother, who is in her 40s, has a number of other children by different fathers and all are now also in HSE care.
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 allegedly repeated rapes.
Local residents were last night sickened at news and a number claimed they were not aware of a group of foreigners operating a sex ring 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.
Ken Foy and Joyce Fegan