A garda has appeared in court in Blanchardstown in Dublin charged with possession of over 650 images of child sexual abuse.

The man, aged in his 50s, cannot be identified by order of the court.

He was told the case would be dealt with by the district court, where penalties are less severe, if he pleads guilty to the charges.

The garda, who is stationed in Dublin but has been suspended from work, is accused of possession of 655 child abuse images at an address in Dublin between 30 July and 2 August 2011.

The charges relate to images and movie files of child explicit sex, child exposure and computer graphic images.

Defence solicitor Dara Robinson applied for reporting restrictions imposed at the last hearing to be renewed and for free legal aid.

He said the garda had a substantial mortgage, there had been a significant reduction in his circumstances and that he was struggling.

Judge David McHugh granted him free legal aid and renewed reporting restrictions before remanding the garda on continuing bail to appear again next month.