Tanaiste raises plight of siblings
Published 21/10/2013 | 12:41
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he is increasingly concerned about the plight of four Irish siblings being held without trial in Egypt.
Mr Gilmore said he specifically raised the situation of the members of the Halawa family, who were arrested in August.
"I have been becoming increasingly concerned about their situation and I intend to discuss that with colleagues," he added.
Sisters Omaima, 20, Fatima, 22, and Somaia, 27, and their 17-year-old brother Ibrihim had travelled to Egypt earlier in the summer for a holiday.
Mr Gilmore said no specific charges have been brought before them and that their detention has been extended on a number of occasions, the last time for a period of 45 days.
The four were forced to seek sanctuary in the Al Fateh mosque in mid August after violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.
They were subsequently jailed in Tora prison and last appeared before the prosecutor's office at the end of September.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has been providing consular assistance to the siblings, from Firhouse, south Dublin.
During the event Mr Gilmore had lunch with Ms Suu Kyi, who received the Freedom of Dublin city last year.
"We discussed on that occasion the possibility of an Irish Aid programme in Burma," he said.
"We have worked on that issue since then, our officials have been involved in scoping out an aid programme, and I expect to be in a position shortly to announce details of an Irish Aid programme in Myanmar/Burma which will help in the transition to democracy."