A MAN who is in custody on charges of raping two little girls is seeking a change of prison.
The 30-year-old, from Athlone, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Harristown District Court yesterday.
He was charged on Monday with twice raping each of the girls, aged six and nine, at an address in the midlands town last Saturday.
He had been remanded in custody to Castlerea Prison and yesterday he was taken by prison officers from the prison to the adjoining Harristown Court for his scheduled remand appearance.
Wearing a white T-shirt and dark trousers, he stood in the area reserved for prisoners and indicated to his solicitor, Gearoid Geraghty, that he wanted to consult with him.
Following a brief consultation, Mr Geraghty advised Judge Geoffrey Browne that his client was seeking a transfer to Cloverhill Prison in Dublin.
"These are the instructions that I've just received," Mr Geraghty told the court.
Judge Browne said he had no jurisdiction in relation to the request. "It's an internal matter (for the prison service)," the judge added.
Inspector Aidan Minnock, of Athlone, applied to have the accused man remanded in custody to appear again at Harristown District Court on October 18.
There was no defence objection and Judge Browne made the remand order.
A large force of gardai had arrived at the court from early yesterday morning.
Members of the armed support unit, armed detectives and uniformed officers were out in force following protests last week outside Athlone courthouse and garda station in the wake of the attacks on the two girls.
However, there was only a small number of protesters at the court.