The fifteen year old who was gang-raped by a bunch of older men in a Dublin hotel is, the Irish Times and Irish Independent told us yesterday, “troubled”:

A 15-YEAR-OLD girl deemed at high risk of sexual exploitation was reported to have been “coked out of it” while spending the night at a Dublin city centre hotel with older men, the High Court has heard.

The girl, who has a history of absconding, was believed to be visiting hotel rooms around the city, meeting men and engaging in sexual acts without using protection in exchange for drugs and alcohol.

Following the most recent incident, which took place earlier this month, the girl is reported to have told hotel staff she had unprotected sex with two or three men who gave her cocaine.

She said she “was coked out it” and suffered injuries due to the violent nature of the intercourse and needed medical attention.

It was the latest in a number of extremely worrying incidents which have led to fears for the girl’s safety and wellbeing.

At the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted orders allowing the Child and Family Agency (CFA) to place the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, at a secure unit for troubled teens.

“Troubled” she may well be. But if she is troubled, what is the appropriate word for the bunch of older men who decided to have group sex with her in a Dublin hotel room? The state seems quite seriously concerned about her – as it should be. But where is the concern about them?

Groups of older men, incidentally, don’t just happen to be in a hotel room all at the same time when a 15-year-old appears out of thin air, asking for cocaine and offering sex in return. Someone had to invite her, and tell the others. Someone had to organise the cocaine. Nobody, apparently, organised the condoms. The nature of the sex was so violent, we’re told, that she needed medical attention for injuries sustained during the course of it.

That means that two or three men stood by and watched while another man had such violent sex with a 15-year-old child that she required medical attention. And then, presumably, they took their turn.

Again – if she is “troubled”, what are they?

Surely, one might think, finding these people should be one of the very highest priorities for the state. Or are we just to hope that actually they didn’t find the experience particularly thrilling, and won’t do it again? Maybe they’ll decide she wasn’t any good. She was only 15, after all.

If, on the other hand, they found the experience satisfying, then the good news for them is that the country does not have a massive shortage of troubled teenage girls. They can probably find another one with relative ease, if they knew where to find this one.

And where did they find her, by the way? Why, in the care of Tusla, the state agency for looking after troubled children. Tusla takes children into care, you see, if their parents cannot look after them. The idea is that it will do a better job, and keep them safe, and so on.

Here’s the thing: A group of adult men who meet to have sex with a child need to be open with each other about what they are doing, and work together to accomplish it. They need to find the child, book the hotel, cover for each other if necessary, and, of course, be comfortable enough to rape someone in front of each other.

And they need to find children and vulnerable teens who are likely targets. So how did they manage to get a child who was in the care of Tusla? In a well functioning society, Tusla would be dragged before our politicians and told to explain themselves. In Irish society, not really.

Instead, the state, of course, would like us to believe that this was the child’s fault. She’s wild, so she is, is the tone of the coverage. She took cocaine. She has a history of “absconding”. To read the coverage, you would nearly think she sought these poor fellas out and took advantage of them.

In any properly civilised society, finding these men, and bringing them to justice, would be the one of the most important priorities of the moment. But unless the search for them is being conducted in secret, which would seem to be an odd thing to do, then there’s no sign of one at all.

These men are an organised group, and an organised group of paedophiles. They knew how to find a victim in state care. They self-evidently managed to lure her away to them with cocaine and alcohol. They used her, like a sex toy, for their own gratification, and left her with physical injuries, which might recover, and other injuries, which will take much longer to heal. They are organised, and they are evil.

That we may never know who they are is one thing – sadly, lots of crimes go undetected, and lots of criminals get away with it. But this crime has been detected, and it should be the highest priority of the state to bring those who carried it out to justice. It does not seem, however, that it is.

Which is not good enough. Not good enough at all.