Seven people have been arrested as part of a garda investigation into the systematic sexual abuse of a child over a prolonged period of time.

The ten-year-old girl is alleged to have been abused over a five-year period.

Five men and two women were arrested in a series of early morning raids in Dublin and Wexford today.

The women are in their 40s and the men range in ages from 19 to 47.

Gardaí are investigating reports that the child was abused by a number of men from when she was four years old until last year when she was nine.

The allegations emerged after the child was removed from her mother, who is Eastern European, and taken into Health Service Executive care.

It is believed the child was taken into care because of neglect.

Gardaí are also investigating if the child's mother facilitated the abuse and was paid.

The seven are being detained in a number of garda stations in Dublin.

They can be questioned for up to 24 hours.