A couple have appeared in court charged with the genital mutilation of their daughter at their home in Dublin last year.

The 35-year-old man and the 25-year-old woman appeared before the Dublin District Court following their arrest this morning.

They are also facing a second charge of allowing a child to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected causing unnecessary suffering or injury.

They were remanded on bail to appear again in court on 1 February next year.

It is the first time anyone has been charged in this country with the offence of female genital mutilation.

Gardaí began the investigation after a child was treated for serious injuries in a children’s hospital.

A file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions who directed that a couple be charged.

The couple were arrested at 10am and taken to a south Dublin garda station before being brought to the Dublin District Court.

Detective Sergeant Danny Kelly told the court that the man replied: "I don't want to say anything until my solicitor is here."

The woman said: "I have told you before when we had an interview here that no one performed mutilation and I did not agree to anyone performing mutilation of the child. She was not mutilated in any form."

The couple, who are originally from Africa, listened to the proceedings through an interpreter.

They swore on the Koran that they would not apply for travel documents after they were ordered to surrender their passports.

They were granted bail on a bond of €300 after they agreed to reside at their address, provide the gardaí with a mobile phone number on which they could be contacted at all times, sign-on twice a week and notify gardaí of a change of address.

Judge Conal Gibbons reminded the media that reporting restrictions were in place to protect the child and remanded them to appear again on 1 February.