Gardaí search Galway property in child porn raid

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A property in Galway was one of 14 locations around Ireland raided by Gardaí this week in an ongoing operation combating child porn.

Local Divisional Protection Service units and Detective units carried out raids in Galway, Meath, Monaghan, Cork, Dublin and Waterford targeting child porn as part of Operation Ketch.

Warrants were obtained from local District Courts under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998 and the raids were carried out from July 22 – 25.

While no arrests were planned during this phase of the operation, a statement from the gardaí said that “Follow up searches will be carried out over the coming days. Arrests are expected as individual investigations progress.”

Gardaí seized digital materials at each of the locations, and in one spot a child sex doll was also seized.

“An Garda Síochána wishes to reassure the community, through operations such as this and other ongoing work by the Online Child Exploitation Unit, that we will relentlessly pursue those involved in the possession, importation and distribution of child abuse material.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact their local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

Operation Ketch began in February 2018 as a “proactive, intelligence-led policing operation” co-ordinated by the Garda National Protection Services Bureau targeting persons suspected of possessing, importing and distributing online child abuse material (child pornography).

Gardaí also identify any child protection concerns at suspect addresses that arise during these investigations and engage with TUSLA.

A Garda spokesperson said that “Liaison is being maintained between investigating Gardaí with the TUSLA, the Child & Family Agency in relation to child protection concerns that have arisen” concerning these raids.

In 2019 to date a total of 72 addresses have been searched as part of Operation Ketch, following on from 137 addresses searched last year.

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