A man has been put on suicide watch after being charged with the rape of two young girls who were lured away from a children’s birthday party.
The 30-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was brought before Longford District Court where he faced four counts of rape against two victims.
Judge Seamus Hughes remanded the accused in custody until Friday, when he will appear before Harristown District Court.
He ordered the accused to be put on suicide watch, afforded “all possible protections” and given medical treatment.
Defence solicitor Gearoid Geraghty also requested a psychiatric assessment.
The suspect, who is originally from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, was charged at Athlone Garda station last night over attacks on the youngsters, aged six and nine, on Saturday afternoon.
Sergeant Yvette McCormack told the court he made no reply to each of the four charges.
More than 300 people staged a protest outside while the suspect was being questioned by detectives.
The suspect was taken from Athlone Garda station in the early hours of the morning after protesters left, and arrived at Longford Courthouse flanked by members of the armed support unit.
Security was tight inside and outside the building, with armed officers in the courtroom.
Two other men arrested following the attacks on a housing estate on the outskirts of Athlone town were released without charge early yesterday.
The accused, of no fixed abode, stood throughout the brief court hearing flanked by gardai.
He stood with his hands clasped in front of him, and was dressed in a black jacket, jeans, black shirt and bright, white sports trainers.