Allegations in Munster child abuse inquiry at "extreme higher end of the scale"

One man has been released without charge, while ten others remain in custody

Allegations in Munster child abuse inquiry at "extreme higher end of the scale"

garda

Updated 21.00

Gardaí investigating the alleged sexual exploitation of children in Munster have released a man without a charge.

Ten others - six women and four men - remain in custody in Garda stations in Cork, Clare and Limerick.

In a statement yesterday, gardaí said they had made 11 arrests as part of an investigation "into alleged sexual exploitation of children who were resident in the Newcastle West Garda District".

Those arrested ranged in age from their 20s to their 70s.

One man has been released without charge, and gardaí say a file is being prepared for the DPP.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Limerick Leader reporter David Hurley said he believes the alleged crimes being investigated are at the "extreme higher end of the scale."

"Certainly the allegations and the complaints that have been made to Gardaí are very serious and it is being treated with a very, very high level of Garda involvement," he said.

"It is at the very, very higher end of the scale as far as I understand it and it is being treated with the utmost seriousness."

He said specialist detectives and senior Garda management have been aware of the allegations for "the guts of a year."

"A full investigation has been underway since the beginning of last summer," he said.

"There have been some searches carried out before yesterday and then a number of coordinated raids yesterday."

Childcare services have been informed about the alleged abuse and have been liaising with the Gardaí.

The suspects are being held at Garda stations in Limerick, Cork and Clare under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.