Three priests have been before Cork District Court charged with indecently assaulting boys at a school where they were teaching.

All three were arrested following a two-year garda investigation into allegations of abuse spanning three decades.

The Sacred Heart College in Carrignavar became the focus of a major investigation by gardaí in 2011 following allegations of abuse by former pupils.

The Catholic secondary school, which is 12km north of Cork city, was a boarding school for boys from the 1960s to 1990s.

Donnacha Mac Cárthaigh, 80, of The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Western Road, Cork, is facing 42 charges of indecently assaulting 14 boys on dates over 20 years between 1969 and 1989.

When charged he said: "I am totally innocent of those charges."

Tadhg Ó Dalaigh, of Woodview House, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, was charged with ten counts of indecently assaulting two boys on dates between 1979 and 1985.

He made no reply to the charges.

Liam O'Brien, 66, also of Mount Merrion Avenue in Dublin, was charged with a single count of indecent assault.

He made no reply to the charge.

Solicitors for all three men applied for what one of the lawyers described as "a gagging order" on the media, seeking to prevent their clients being identified publicly.

However, Judge Conal Gibbons rejected their applications, saying the media attended court to represent the citizen and the public, and he would not be imposing reporting restrictions.

The three men were remanded on bail until 12 December.