A retired school principal has appeared in court charged with 90 counts of sexually abusing 20 boys over a 30-year period in Dublin.

Patrick Harte, 80, was a former teacher before he became the school principal at Sancta Maria Christian Brothers Primary School at Synge Street school in Dublin where most of the offences are alleged to have taken place.

He appeared before Dublin District Court today accused of committing 83 counts of indecent assault, six counts of sexual assault, and one count of attempted indecent assault.

Mr Harte, of Glendown Park, Templeogue, Dublin has not yet indicated how he will plead.

The 90 offences against 20 boys are alleged to have occurred from 1967 until 1995.

The charges arise from an investigation by the Divisional Protective Services Unit at Kevin Street Garda station in Dublin.

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Detective Garda Colleen Gallagher gave Judge Treasa Kelly a list of the offences and told the court that Patrick Harte made no reply to the charges after caution and was handed a copy of each charge sheet.

The court was told the Director of Public Prosecutions directed trial on indictment, which means the case will be sent forward to the higher Circuit Criminal Court.

The court was told that Mr Harte consented to being remanded in custody but his defence counsel John Griffin said a bail application was possible on the next date, but that he had been furnished with "a very large pack" of garda objections which required some time to go through and needed to be put to his client.

Judge Kelly directed that Patrick Harte give the gardaí 48 hours' notice of any bail application before granting him free legal aid.

He was remanded in custody to appear again in court next Monday.