TDs to visit Firhouse man in Egyptian jail today

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The delegation of TDs currently on a visit to Egypt are due to visit Ibrahim Halawa in Wadi el Natrun prison in Cairo today. The 21 year has been held in the jail for the last three and a half years without being brought for trial.

The delegation, which arrived in Egypt yesterday, includes some local TDs and is being led by the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

Among other business is the negotiation of a new beef deal with a number of senior officials and politicians in the Egyptian government, including the president, Mr Fattah El Sissi, on Wednesday.

The week-long visit has been organised to allow future bilateral deal discussions on communications, agriculture, trade and tourism.

However, speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme, Mr Ó Fearghaíl said any potential agreements could be blocked or scrapped entirely unless Egyptian authorities resolve the Ibrahim Halawa case.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said:

“It’s inevitable that there’s a connection between Irish-Egyptian deals and the Halawa case, it’s like the stone in our shoe of building relations.

“The key point here is this person is a young Irish citizen, a person who was a child in Irish law at the time the events occurred.”

Mr Halawa (21), from Firhouse, has been awaiting trial along with 500 other detainees, but has seen his trial postponed on a number of occasions.

He was arrested during protests in Cairo after the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power through a military coup. Mr Halawa was 17 at the time.

The other TDs in the delegation are Dublin South West TD’s Paul Murphy, Anti Austerity Alliance and Colm Brophy, Fine Gael, along with Labour leader Brendan Howlin; Green Party leader Eamon Ryan; Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O’Brien; Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin and Independent TD Noel Grealish.

The visit was planned after a Dáil debate last July on Mr Halawa’s continued detention without trial.