GARDAÍ have searched 23 addresses, including six each in Cork and Dublin, as part of an operation targeting the possession and distribution of child pornography.
Follow-up searches will be carried out in the coming days as part of a further crackdown.
Gardaí have confirmed that warrants to search were executed at 23 addresses in 11 counties under Operation Ketch 5, the latest phase of an ongoing search-and-recovery operation targeting suspects involved in the possession and distribution of child pornography through social networking sites or via file-sharing networks.
The Online Child Exploitation Unit (OnCE) at the Garda National Protection Services Bureau is leading the operation.
Along with the six addresses in each of Cork and Dublin, there were two in each of Donegal and Monaghan and one in each of Clare, Carlow, Cavan, Meath, Louth, Limerick, and Kerry. The searches took place between February 1 and 4 and further searches are due to take place in the coming days.
Digital material has been seized for forensic examination at all addresses searched.
Operation Ketch was started in February 2018, when gardaí raided 38 addresses. Two of the suspects identified at that stage were juveniles.
This was followed by a search of 38 addresses in July 2018, during which child sex dolls were seized at one address. There were 34 addresses targeted in September 2018.