GARDAI are investigating an allegation than a nine-year-old girl was raped by a boy, 11, in County Laois.
The young girl was allegedly raped in a field on Easter Sunday, April 1.
An investigation was launched after a female passer-by discovered the children and brought the girl to safety.
A source told the Daily Star: "The young boy was caught with the girl by a local woman who managed to retrieve the nine-year-old and bring her home."
The woman then lodged a complaint with gardaí.
In a statement, the force confirmed that an investigation into the alleged incident was under way.
A garda spokesman said: "Gardai 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 under the crime of raping a person aged 10-12.
It is not yet known whether the boy has been detained.