A senior garda has told a court that a Galway couple charged with the abuse and neglect of their children could possibly face hundreds more charges.

A 48-year old man is charged with raping four of his daughters and neglect and cruelty towards a son between 1997 and April 2009, while his wife faces a total of 18 charges of cruelty and neglect of her children between May 2002 and June 2009.

The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, made their second appearance in court today, having spent Christmas in jail after being remanded in custody on Christmas Eve.

At the bail application at Ennis District Court this afternoon, Supt Enda Walshe told the court: 'The charges before the court are serious as they stand. But they face further charges, possibly running into the hundreds.'

Supt Walshe said that he was objecting to bail on the grounds that the two are likely to evade justice; interfere with witnesses; the seriousness of the charges; the weight of evidence supporting the charges, the likely sentence if convicted and that the two have no fixed abode.

Supt Walshe said that an initial allegation was made against the man by one of his daughters in July 2000, but was withdrawn the following year.

Det Garda Mary Hession said that the current charges before the court relate to allegations that were made in April of this year.

In total, the man and his wife are currently charged with a total of 30 counts of abusing and neglecting their children.

The man faces 10 charges of raping four of his daughters and two counts of neglect and cruelty towards a son.

The rape offences are alleged to have taken place at a Co Galway location between 1997 and April of this year.

The two charges alleging cruelty and neglect are alleged to have taken place between 2002 and 2004, also at a location in Co Galway.

The charges against the woman allege that she assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or otherwise treated the children in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to their health or seriously affect their well-being.

Bail was refused and the couple were remanded in custody to appear before Athenry District Court on 12 January.