Raids in 12 counties across Ireland over child abuse images

Raids in 12 counties across Ireland over child abuse images

A SERIES of 30 homes in 12 counties across Ireland were raided by gardaí in a crackdown on child abuse images. 

An Garda Síochána have carried out the searches as part of an investigation into the possession and distribution of child abuse images.

The raids under Operation Ketch were carried out over the past three days since Saturday and continued today in counties including Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Limerick, Kerry and Waterford.

Homes in Munster and Leinster have been searched.

According to RTÉ, computers, phones and other equipment have also been seized.

Gardaí have described the operation as at the stage of evidence gathering but say arrests and charges are expected.

Officers also said the first priority is to try to identify if any of the children in the images remain in danger.

Gardaí say the investigation by the Online Child Exploitation Unit at the Garda's Protective Services Bureau has been under way since last year.

Operation Ketch was set up to target people suspected of possessing and distributing child exploitation images.

As well as their own inquiries, gardaí received information from law enforcement authorities in the US and Canada and secured warrants in court to search designated addresses here.