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An Ennis man was today charged with the murder of mother of two, Sharon Bennett.

By Gordon Deegan

At Ennis District Court, Patrick Ballard (34) appeared after being charged with the murder of Wexford native, Ms Bennett.

Mr Ballard has been on remand in prison after being initially charged with the assault causing harm of Ms Bennett (29) in the Market area of Ennis on Thursday, January 28th last. Ms Bennett died 13 days later at University Hospital Limerick.

At Ennis District Court today, Det Garda Noelle Bergin gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution of Mr Ballard at 10.30am on Wednesday morning before court.

Det Garda Bergin told the court that Mr Ballard of Ashford Court Hotel, Ennis made “no reply” in response to caution and charge.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan applied that the initial charge of assault causing harm against Mr Ballard be withdrawn now that the murder charge has been made.

Judge Patrick Durcan acceded to that request and struck out the assault causing harm charge. Judge Durcan stated that as it is a murder charge, the question of bail in the district court doesn’t arise.

Judge Durcan granted legal aid to solicitor, Tara Godfrey concerning the murder charge.

Ms Godfrey applied that Mr Ballard be psychiatrically assessed while on remand in prison and Judge Durcan granted that application.

Judge Durcan directed that the completed assessment be made available to Ms Godfrey and that she also write to the prison governor concerning his direction to have the assessment carried out.

Mr Ballard and Ms Bennett were in a relationship at the time of the alleged murder and Ms Bennett was a mother of two girls, aged nine and six from a previous relationship.

Judge Durcan remanded Mr Ballard in custody to re-appear before Gort District Court on Thursday, March 25th.

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