Government approach to Halawa case ‘the best way’

Flanagan tells Dáil ‘our contacts, experience’ means the State is best placed to succeed

The Government's approach to dealing with the case of Ibrahim Halawa, the Irishman imprisoned in Egypt since August 2013, is the one most likely to make progress in securing his release, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

Charlie Flanagan told the Dáil "our contacts, experience and expertise" enable an approach on the part of the State that was best placed to succeed.

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy said while he knew the decision to release Mr Halawa was a matter for the Egyptian authorities, he believed the Government should be louder in showing “absolute outrage”.

He raised the issue during Dáil foreign affairs question times as the European Parliament was expected to agree on Thursday a motion calling for Mr Halawa's release as an EU citizen.


Mr Flanagan said he and the Taoiseach had been in contact with their Egyptian counterparts and officials were in constant contact about Mr Halawa’s case.

He added “any decision to release this citizen” was a matter for the Egyptian authorities.

Mr Halawa was arrested, with his sisters, following protests over ousting of then president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. His sisters were subsequently released.

His trial was postponed on Tuesday for the tenth time and adjourned until Saturday. He is one of 420 defendants in a mass trial.

The hearing was adjourned because of the absence of one of the 420 defendants.

The European Parliament will on Thursday discuss a motion calling for the release of Ibrahim Halawa.

The resolution, authored by Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, has given his “full support” to the teenager, incarcerated in Egypt since 2013.

Its adoption would likely be viewed as a strong message of support for Mr Halawa from the EU.

The Dubliner was aged 17 when in August 2013 he was arrested by the Egyptian army as he took refuge in a Cairo mosque while Muslim Brotherhood protesters staged a “day of rage” outside.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times