GardaÍ have launched a major investigation after a teenage girl was reported to have been raped at a playground at the weekend.
The girl (15) is understood to have been in the company of another girl when they were approached by a number of males in a black car on Saturday afternoon in Charlestown, Co Mayo.
The attack is reported to have happened sometime later at a playground in the Lowpark area of the town.
It is understood gardaí have identified one of the three males, said to be in their late teens, as a suspect in the investigation.
The alleged attacker, it was understood, was not previously known to the girl and is not from the locality.
It is understood witnesses were able to give gardaí a clear description of a black car that was seen in the area at the time.
Garda forensic investigators carried out an examination of the playground where the alleged attack took place and the neighbouring car park.
Locals in the town have expressed their horror at the alleged incident.
One man, who asked not to be named, said the area "woke up to a nightmare" yesterday morning.
"This is a small town and we all know and care for one another so this is awful.
"For any parent hearing news like this, it is actually your worst nightmare.
"Everyone is very upset and angry," he said.
"The first I knew about it was this morning (Sunday) when I saw all the guards and forensic team.
"There was a large forensic tent and they were there a long time.
"They took over the playground and the car park all day.
"When I saw how many gardaí were there I knew that something very serious had happened.
"You just don't expect to hear news like this," he said.
In a statement released yesterday evening, gardaí appealed to the public for information.
"Gardaí are appealing to the public for information in relation to the rape of a teenage girl that is reported to have occurred at a playground in the Lowpark area of Charlestown, Co Mayo, on September 26, 2020.
"A forensic examination of the scene has taken place.
"Anyone with information, particularly anyone who was in the vicinity of the Square and/or Lowpark areas of Charlestown between 2pm - 8pm, is asked to contact Garda in Claremorris on 094 937 2080 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111."