Politicians allowed to meet Halawa
Irish politicians have finally been invited to meet imprisoned teenager Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt - but no visit is likely ahead of the beginning of his trial this weekend.
The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade announced it had received a formal invitation from the Egyptian authorities to send representatives to Cairo.
The move followed a number of requests from the committee in recent weeks.
One member of the committee, Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, had accused the Egyptian authorities of ignoring requests.
A spokeswoman for the committee said last night that arrangements were in the preliminary stages of being agreed. The Irish Independent understands this process could take a few weeks.
Dubliner Mr Halawa (19) has been in custody in Egypt since his August 2013 arrest during protests against the toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi.
He was initially charged with murder and other serious offences along with 488 others. A mass trial is scheduled for Sunday.
Although the Government believed in recent months that those charges had been replaced with less serious ones, this has been disputed by Kevin R Winters, the Belfast human rights law firm representing Mr Halawa.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was seeking further clarification in respect of the precise charges and their likely implication.