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Gardai know the suspects wanted in rape of girl (13)

TWO local criminals are believed to be the prime suspects in the investigation into the rape of a 13-year-old girl in broad daylight.

A manhunt is under way for the attackers who allegedly snatched the teen as she walked through a laneway in Wicklow town -- revealed in the Herald yesterday.

Investigators are looking at CCTV footage in the area in an attempt to identify the culprits.

Gardai believe the suspects are two local criminals and Mayor of Wicklow Sean Smullen said people were "terrified".

"Even though the evenings are bright they are keeping their children in," Mr Smullen said.

Gardai have supplied a family liaison officer and child specialist interviewers to assist with the case.

The young girl was dragged to a laneway between Crinion Park and Broadlough View where she was allegedly gang-raped by the pair.

The girl was on her way to the shops when she was set upon by the criminals who tripped her up and pulled her down the lane.

Cllr Irene Winters said that the town was horrified by the incident.

"I'm absolutely appalled to think that in the middle of a sunny afternoon a young girl can be taken from the street like this," she said.

"It has caused everyone in the town to question their safety."

And she appealed for anyone with information to come forward to Wicklow gardai.

"Someone who behaves like that will do it again," she added.

The young victim has been taken to Dublin's Rotunda Hospital to the sexual assault clinic.

Officers are carrying out door-to-door inquiries in an attempt to collect information about the individuals who were in the area at the time of the attack.

Gardai have made no arrests at this stage.