The trial of a couple accused of the female genital mutilation (FGM) of their daughter has heard the accused man told gardaí that he was fighting FGM and doing everything he could to save girls.

The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, both pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of carrying out an act of FGM on a then one-year-old girl at an address in Dublin on 16 September 2016.

The 37-year-old man and 27-year-old woman also pleaded not guilty to one count of child cruelty on the same day.

On the fifth day of the trial, Detective Inspector Danny Kelly told John Byrne BL, prosecuting, that the accused man was arrested by gardaí on 22 September 2016. He was interviewed on several occasions.

Det Insp Kelly said that during the interviews, the defendant said that he had lived in Ireland since 2008 and he met his wife in the country. He said that he lived with his wife and two children.

The accused man told gardaí that his daughter's injury occurred just after her nappy had been changed and she ran away from her mother "without clothing". He said he held up a balloon with lights on it and told her it was hers, but she ran away backwards without taking it.

He told gardaí that he turned around to tidy something up and heard her scream. He said there was blood all over the place and after both accused cleaned her up the blood did not stop dripping off her and they brought her to a hospital.

The accused man was asked by gardaí what he knew about female genital mutilation. The man said it was "a woman's domain", it was reserved only for women, he had never been present for something like that and he knew it could not be done here.

He was asked by gardaí if he agreed with FGM. He replied that he did not and that he was fighting it and doing everything to save girls.

The accused man told gardaí that his wife is from the generation that is fighting it as well. He said that his wife had FGM done to her.

He told gardaí that if it was not prohibited he would not support it being carried out. He said he would not support it even if it was legal as he is aware of the consequences on the human being and their life afterwards.

The trial will continue before Judge Elma Sheahan and a jury.