A 48-year-old man has been charged with arson after a fire at a 19th Century church in Dublin.

Smoke and water damage were caused to St Catherine's Church in Meath Street after a fire broke out yesterday evening.

It took firefighters two hours to get the blaze under control yesterday evening.

At Dublin District Court this morning, Patrick Curry, of no fixed abode, was charged with committing arson at St Catherine's Church.

His lawyer told the court there were serious psychiatric issues and he requested an urgent psychiatric assessment. The request was granted by Judge Timothy Lucey.

Garda Brian Hawkins of Kevin Street Garda Station told the court that Mr Curry made no reply to the charge.

Mr Curry did not address the court during the brief hearing. No application for bail was made and Mr Curry was remanded in custody at Cloverhill Prison to appear in court again on 10 January.

Rebecca Moynihan, a Labour Party Councillor who lives near the church, said the fire would be a blow to the local community.

"The outside structure looks fine. It's cordoned off at the moment. But I think the internal structures have been damaged massively," Ms Moynihan said.

"It is a church that is kind of central to the heart of the Liberties and the social life of the Liberties.

"Many older members of the community use it every day and every Sunday it is still packed out. It's one of the busiest churches in the city," she added.