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Gardai probe man's claims he was raped

GARDAI are investigating the alleged rape of a man in a west Dublin suburb.

Officers were alerted to the suspected serious sexual attack on the man, who is in his early twenties, in Neilstown.

They were called to a badly lit green off a walkway between Neilstown Road and the Moorefield estate.

A garda spokesman confirmed that officers had received a complaint from a male claiming he was sexually assaulted.

Fr Donal Toal, parish priest at St Peter the Apostle Church, described the allegations as "shocking and terrible".

"It's a shocking thing to happen in the community," he told the Herald.

Fr Toal, who has been based in the area for 10 years, said it was the first time an incident such as that had happened during his time in the parish.

"It has frightened people. They are shocked and upset over it," the priest added.

The church is located only yards from the scene of the incident, which occurred at 1am yesterday.

The alleged victim is believed to live locally.

The scene remained sealed off for a number of hours yesterday as forensic investigators carried out an examination.

No arrests have been made so far.

Local man Mick Jones, who lives close to the walkway, said it was "disgraceful".

"I don't know if they know who the culprit is," he added.

As he was speaking, a woman approached and asked if he had heard what had happened.

"I'm not letting my daughter up here any more -- there is too much going on," said the clearly upset woman.

Another woman, who lives near the scene, said the first she knew of it was when she opened her curtains in the morning and saw the garda cordon.

She believes the walkway in question should have been blocked off years ago by South Dublin County Council.

"I live here and I know all about it [anti-social behaviour]. There's not even a light on that corner," the woman said.

Local couple Marie and Patrick Moran said their daughter Sandra's friends had been discussing the incident on Facebook.

"One of the girls put up the question 'What is happening in Neilstown?'," Sandra said.

"Nobody knows. The gardai have not been around asking us," she added.