Retired Fianna Fail senator Francis O'Brien in court

A retired Fianna Fail senator has appeared in court in Monaghan in the Irish Republic with two other men, charged with extortion and demanding money by menaces.

Francis O'Brien, 70, was sent for trial to the Circuit Criminal Court.

The father of four, from Corwillan, Latton, Castleblayney, County Monaghan was a member of the Irish senate from 1989 to 2011.

All three, who were present in court, reserved their pleas.

The others who appeared in court were Michael Marron, 56, of Taghart North, Shercock, County Cavan and Raymond McCaughey, 57, of Drumganus, Broomfield, County Monaghan,

They are accused of attempting to make gain for themselves or others, by making an unwarranted demand for 100,000 euros (£85,000) from a Michael Heelan, with menaces, at Tullyvaragh Lower, Carrickmacross, on 27 April last year.

Judge Sean MacBride was told by Inspector Brendan Cadden, who was prosecuting, that a book of evidence was served on all three men and their return for trial was being sought to Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court on 18 June.

The ex-senator and two others were arraigned separately before the judge and all were remanded on continuing bail of 5,000 euros (£4,250).