Concern mounts for hospitalised Ibrahim Halawa

His family the Irish Government's approach is not working

Concern mounts for hospitalised Ibrahim Halawa

Undated photo of Ibrahim Halawa | Image: Facebook/Free Ibrahim Halawa

Concern is mounting for the welfare of Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa.

His family say he has been moved from his jail cell in Egypt to the prison's hospital as his heart condition deteriorates.

The Dubliner has been on hunger strike and is now refusing water.

The Department of Foreign of Affairs is to visit with him in the coming days.

In a statement his family say while they appreciate what the Government has been doing, they believe that its approach is not working.

His family say: "We feel that the Government must do something different and be tougher. It's time they put a deadline on this.

"When is Ibrahim's suffering going to end?

"He has been in prison for almost four years. His health is not good. He is on hunger strike. How much longer?

"We feel that we are losing him. The Government must act now before it's too late."

Mr Halawa has said he will not end his hunger strike until he is safely released.

He was 17-years-old when he was first detained in August 2013.

His mass trial alongside 493 other defendants has been adjourned 19 times Cairo.

An aunt of Mr Halawa's, who visited him this week, said that the prison hospital facilities are 'very poor' and that his room has no access to sunlight.

Undated photo of Ibrahim Halawa | Image: Facebook/Free Ibrahim Halawa

In a statement to Newstalk.com, the Department of Foreign of Affairs say: "This long-running and complex consular case continues to be a top priority for the Government and very significant resources continue to be devoted to the provision of support to Ibrahim Halawa and his family by the Taoiseach, by Minister Flanagan and by officials in Dublin and Cairo."

"The Irish embassy in Cairo maintains ongoing contact with the Egyptian authorities in relation to this case and seeks to ensure at all times that the Egyptian authorities fulfil their responsibility to address any issues relating to Ibrahim Halawa's health and welfare.

"The Irish embassy requested a medical check up for Ibrahim and this was subsequently ordered by the court.

"Our understanding is that these tests are being administered at present and this information was conveyed to the family by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday February 21st."

The department adds that the ambassador and his team undertake regular consular visits to Mr Halawa and are planning a further visit "in the coming days."

"The Government is doing everything possible to secure the early return to Ireland of this young Irish citizen, and we are continuing to avail of every opportunity to engage with the Egyptian authorities to this end, both directly and with our EU partners", it says.