GARDAÍ have said that an 11-year-old boy who is accused of raping a nine-year-old girl on Easter Sunday should face a trial.
The young girl was allegedly raped in a field in Co. Laois on April 1.
An investigation was launched after a female passer-by came across the children and brought the girl to safety.
It is understood the families involved knew each other and were visiting the other's home at the time of the alleged attack.
However, Gardaí have reportedly now recommended that no criminal charges be brought against the boy.
'Child welfare issue'
A Garda source told The Irish Daily Mail that they view the alleged incident as more of a "child welfare issue" than criminal.
"Gardaí do believe the crime occurred. Gardai are putting all the evidence before the DPP. The DPP can then direct a criminal charge," the source said.
"Tusla and the HSE are involved heavily in this case. Obviously psychologists and psychiatrists and other professionals are providing support structures to try and help the victim and also the boy who did this and their families.
"The priority is to help the young girl and also to get to the bottom of the 11-year-old's problems and try to solve them so he never commits such a crime again.
"To put an 11-year-old boy in the prison system, to criminalise him, there is a view that would not help him and in fact might be detrimental."
A Garda spokesman confirmed to The Irish Post at the time that an investigation was underway.
They said: "Gardaí in Co Laois are investigating an alleged serious sexual assault which occurred on the 1st April 2018.
"No further details are available at this stage and investigations are continuing."
Under current Irish law, there are difficulties arresting and charging children under 14 even for the allegation of raping a person aged 10-12.
It is not yet known whether the DPP will adhere to the recommendation by Gardaí.