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Government must answer cry for help

The decision by Ibrahim Halawa to go on hunger strike is an extremely worrying development. It highlights the desperation of his situation and the need for urgent action.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been at pains to point out the efforts they have made to get Ibrahim released.

While a lot of work is no doubt going on behind the scenes, a more visible campaign is required.

Were it not for the Halawas themselves, we would know very little about this case. Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan should raise the issue publicly on the European stage.

Ibrahim has spent more than a year behind bars in what by all accounts are appalling conditions.

He has been beaten and denied proper medical treatment for his injuries. Last week, he was subjected to a 'pantomime' trial.

Surely, the European Union can exert enough pressure on Egypt to have him released.

Time could be running out.