A former US attorney accused of having 646 images of child abuse material will face trial at Sligo Circuit Court.

Gerard Gilligan, 60, was flown to Ireland with a Garda escort from New York earlier this week.

He appeared before Sligo District Court this morning where he was returned for trial on 28 July.

He is charged with downloading the images at an address in Union Place, Sligo.

The court heard that Mr Gilligan has dual US and Irish citizenship.

Garda Inspector Paul Kilcoyne in objecting to bail said Mr Gilligan was of no fixed address. The charge against him was serious and there was strong evidence to support the prosecution case.

Mr Gilligan, a New Jersey-born father of four, told the court that he qualified as an attorney in 1979 and practised for 20 years.

He told the court that he was "applying for bail to be at large to participate in preparation of my own defence rather than sitting behind bars and having no role in it."

He said he was in a partnership with a person in Co. Mayo in an Internet marketing business.

Prosecuting counsel Hugh Sheridan, who said the book of evidence was served before court this morning, told Judge Kevin Kilrane he was hoping for an early trial as it was not a particularly long case.

But defence counsel Keith O'Grady said the alleged offences occurred over five years ago on 1 March 2009.

Computers had been seized and he anticipated it would be 2015 before a trial would start.

Judge Kilrane refused bail and remanded Mr Gilligan in custody to appear again before Sligo Circuit Court on 28 July.