Prominent republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy appeared for the first time today before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, on charges connected with alleged revenue offences.

His counsel Michael O'Higgins challenged the validity of the order from Dundalk District Court sending him for trial to the Special Criminal Court.

The court normally deals with terrorist-related offences but the Director of Public Prosecutions has the discretion in any case to certify that the ordinary courts are inadequate to deal with it and to send it for trial to the three-judge non-jury court.

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said that the court would have to set aside time to deal with the issue and he remanded Mr Murphy on continuing bail pending the fixing of a date for the hearing of the issue.