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Material seized in Operation Ketch as six Cork properties searched

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 4:53pm

Six searches took place across Cork during a nationwide garda operation targeting suspects involved in the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Operation Ketch 5 is the latest phase of the on-going search and recovery operation led by the Online Child Exploitation Unit at the Garda National Protection Services Bureau.

Gardaí confirmed on Tuesday that the operation took place between 1-4 February and involved searches under warrant issued pursuant to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 in a number of garda divisions throughout the country.

Liaison is being maintained with the Child and Family Agency regarding any child protection concerns that arise.

Warrants to search were executed at 23 addresses nationwide pursuant to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.

The searches were conducted by the Online Child Exploitation Unit and the newly established Divisional Protection Service Units as well as local detective units.

It’s anticipated that follow up searches will be carried over the next few days and gardaí confirmed to media that digital material has been seized for forensic examination at all addresses searched.

A spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána wishes to reassure the community, through operations and awareness campaigns such as these and other ongoing work by the Online Child Exploitation Unit, that we will relentlessly pursue those involved in the sexual exploitation of children, including those who possess, import and distribute child abuse material.”

The timing of the operation coincided with Safer Internet Day 2019, during which An Garda Síochána, in conjunction with Webwise, promoted the Be in Ctrl Schools Programme which informs students of the risk of online exploitation, raise awareness regarding safe online behaviour and empower young people to seek help and report incidents to the Gardaí.

Counties where searches took place: Cork - 6; Dublin - 6; Monaghan - 2; Clare - 1; Carlow - 1; Donegal - 2; Cavan - 1; Meath - 1; Louth - 1; Limerick - 1; Kerry - 1.

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