The Mayor of Kilkenny says it is 'deeply disturbing' that a young girl was attacked just metres from her home.
The 17-year-old was out for a walk just after midday on Monday, when she was attacked by a man - believed to be in his 40s - who then fled the scene.
The incident happened near Johnstown when the girl was approached by the man and assaulted.
She was taken to St Luke's General Hospital Kilkenny, where she was treated for shock and a non-life threatening physical injury.
The man is best described as a white male in his 40s with an Irish accent.
Gardaí are continuing to carry out enquiries and examine CCTV from the area.
They are appealing for any person travelling on the R639 between Johnstown and The Gallops - a minor road also known locally as Cullinanes Lane - Ballyspellan between 11.00am and 12.15pm, particularly any person with any video footage, to contact Gardaí at Kilkenny on 056-777-5000, the Garda Confidential Line at 1800-666-111 or any Garda station.
Mayor of Kilkenny, Andrew McGuinness, told The Pat Kenny Show this happened very close to the girl's home.
"It's deeply, deeply disturbing that a young teenage girl can be attacked in such a random way in broad daylight only metres away from her home.
"I'd hate to think what would have happened if the attacker had his way - I think we'd be having a very different conversation.
"I'm just very thankful that the girl managed to get away and managed to get to safety".
He says the local community is shocked.
"The community in Johnstown in north Kilkenny is a very close knit community, people there support each other very well.
"They're deeply shocked because it's a very safe area, and for something like this to happen on our doorstep so soon after what happened Ashling Murphy in Tullamore is just deeply concerning.
"In a lot of circumstances in towns like Johnstown, everybody would know each other and you would recognise people from the area.
"So there is a high possibility that the person is not from the area".
And he says he has full confidence in the Gardaí "because they responded so proactively and with force immediately".
"It's sad to see, actually, the Johnstown community Facebook page, where they're advising people to be vigilant.
"And it's sad that we're at that point now, and we've probably been at that point for a lot longer than we know, where we do have to encourage everybody to be vigilant.
"As a parent myself, I'm worried for my children like every other parent is worried for their children.
"It's sad that we now have to be extra cautious and that we have people within our communities - no matter how big or small - that are capable of something like this.
"And we need to work together as a community to stop it and to fight it".