A former government minister in Ireland is under investigation by police after a group of victims came forward, claiming that the politician sexually abused them before he was in office in the 1990s.

Though the identity of the politician in question has yet to be revealed, “a high-level probe has now been launched and is likely to send shockwaves through political circles,” the Irish Independent reported yesterday.

In the past six months, a number of alleged victims, both male and female, have separately shared their accounts with gardaí (Irish police).

It is believed that a female victim first approached the gardaí with claims that she had been abused by the man when she was a child, and then provided names of other individuals who had also been subject to abuse. 

When interviewed by police, these individuals provided enough information to confirm the woman's allegations, and some of them subsequently filed their own complaints against the ex-minister, the Irish Times reported. 

Thus far, it has emerged that the assaults took place at a location in Dublin as well as another location in the Irish midlands.

The investigation is headed by the Garda National Protection Services Bureau (GNPSB), a recently formed group within the Irish police force that works specifically on sex crimes and domestic violence cases.

The allegations against the respected former politician are not believed to be "at the higher level of scale," the Irish Independent noted.

However, there has also been speculation that one of the alleged victims had previously reported the same man to a garda station in Dublin over 10 years ago, and that the claims were never properly investigated.

The investigation will continue, led by the specialist group of detectives. It is believed that the former government minister has not yet been questioned.

Leinster House, the seat of Irish politics.Jean Housen / Creative Commons