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Mother of 17 faces extortion charges

A MOTHER of 17 accused of attempting to gain €24,000 in an alleged extortion racket has been granted bail.

Brigid Ryan (52), from Fairgreen, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, is charged with demanding money with menaces from Patrick Hegarty at 7 Fairgreen, Rathkeale, between December 14 and 25.

The Limerick woman is accused of demanding €24,000 from Mr Hegarty and threatening to blow up his house if he did not pay.

Ms Ryan, who has 11 daughters and six sons, was first charged on New Year's Day and appeared yesterday at Kilmallock courthouse, Co Limerick, before Judge Mary O'Halloran.

Defence solicitor Ted McCarthy said he was making a bail application as there had been "a significant change in circumstances".

Supt Tom Lundon of Bruff garda station told the judge that certain matters had been brought to his attention and the State was not objecting to bail on certain conditions.

Supt Lundon said the accused must stay away from the alleged injured party and members of his family. She was also ordered to sign on daily at Rathkeale garda station.

Judge Mary O'Halloran yesterday granted free legal aid to the defendant, who is in receipt of social welfare.

She is due to appear before Newcastle West District Court next Friday. Her husband and a number of her daughters were present for yesterday's hearing.

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