Eight men have appeared in court in connection with a public order incident involving up to 200 people in Mullingar.

Six of the people who appeared in court were charged with public order offences.

Two others were charged with assault.

Judge John Neilan was told the accused are alleged to have been involved in violence that took place at Dalton Park housing estate or the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar during the afternoon.

All eight people were remanded in custody to appear again at a sitting of the District Court in Tullamore on Monday.

The men were arrested after violence erupted at around midday in the Dalton Park estate in the town.

It is believed that the violence is related to an ongoing family feud.

Initial violence that broke out on the housing estate spread to Midland Regional Hospital later in the afternoon.

Two people had earlier been arrested on the estate after the row broke out between two families. Two petrol bombs were thrown during the clashes.

Locals reported that more than 30 people were throwing stones and other missiles in the centre of the estate.

Gardaí say the dispute may have been triggered by what they described as a 'king of the tinkers-style' fist fight.

Residents in the area say a major dispute has been underway between two feuding families for several months but only escalated into serious violence today.

More than 20 gardaí attended the scene to restore calm and locals say up to 100 people were involved in what they described as a full-blown riot. One house was badly damaged.

There were then further altercations between the same families this afternoon at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.