A 24-year-old Laois man appeared in court charged with the murder of Aoife Phelan, who went missing two weeks ago.

Robert Corbet, with an address in Sheffield, Portlaoise, was charged with murdering the 30-year-old au-pair on 25 October.

At a brief court appearance, Detective Sergeant John Healy said he arrested Mr Corbet at 11.27pm last night and charged him with the offence after caution.

He said the accused shook his head and said: "No".

Mr Corbet has been remanded in custody to Cloverhill Prison. He is to appear at the district court in Portlaoise on 15 November at 10.30am.

After an application from a legal representative for Mr Corbet, Judge Catherine Staines recommended that he receive psychiatric attention in Cloverhill.

An application for free legal aid has been deferred until next week's court session.

When Judge Staines asked if there was any reason why the defendant could not receive free legal aid, Superintendent Yvonne Lundon told the court the defendant had a large business.

Judge Staines requested that a statement of means be submitted to the court.

Statement from Aoife Phelan's family

After the hearing, Ms Phelan's family issued the following statement:

"Today we are happy to have Aoife back with us, her family.

"Her death has left us sad and heartbroken. She was a loving daughter and sister and we will miss her dearly.

"We are overwhelmed by the support and the kindness we have received over the past two weeks.

“We would like to thank all the people who helped in searching for Aoife and who have been there for us, especially family members, neighbours, friends and the Ballyroan community.

"We would like to acknowledge the efforts of An Garda Síochána who have worked tirelessly to have Aoife returned to us.

"We ask now for privacy as we spend our remaining precious time with Aoife today and attend to her funeral tomorrow."