The families of two young girls who were allegedly raped last Saturday have thanked gardaí, care professionals and the people of Athlone for their help and kindness.
In a statement, the families said they had received immense practical help and empathy, which had been a great comfort to them.
They said: "We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation of An Garda Síochána for their support and tireless efforts at this difficult time.
"Their compassion and professionalism has been a source of great comfort for us and, more importantly for our precious little daughters.
"The other professional care providers have also helped us to begin to find our way through this challenging period.
"Finally, we would also like to recognise the kindness and practical support that we have received from the people of Athlone.
"The level of public empathy and practical assistance has been immense and again it has been a source of comfort to us all at this most difficult time."