Published Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Nearly 900 people have been killed in violent unrest in Egypt in under a week. (© Getty)
A consular official from the Irish embassy in Cairo has been able to visit the Halawa family at a detention centre for the first time since they were jailed.
The siblings - the children of Hussein Halawa, the Imam of Ireland's biggest mosque - had been on holiday when they were caught up in the storming of Cairo's Al Fateh mosque by security forces.
Sisters Omaima Halawa, 20, 22-year-old Fatima, and 27-year-old Somaia, and their 17-year-old brother Ibrihim - who all carry Irish passports - are being detained together in Tora prison.
It is understood that medical staff have been asked to treat a minor hand injury sustained by Ibrihim, but the siblings are otherwise well.
While this information will come as a relief to their family, obviously they are still in detention and unfortunately the situation in relation to legal proceedings against them is unclear at present.
Joe Costello, TD
"I'm glad that we've been able to report that they are in good spirits," Joe Costello, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said.
"No charges have been preferred at this time and, naturally enough, we are delighted to have had a chance to meet with them.
"It was the first time there has been any access since they were detained."
Mr Costello added: "Officials are in contact with the family here in Dublin and relayed this information to them immediately. Our primary concern has always been for the welfare of the four siblings, and I'm glad that we've managed to establish access to them."
The Embassy of Ireland in Egypt is continuing to liaise with Egyptian authorities on the matter.
For two days in a row, dozens of protestors have gathered outside the Egyptian embassy in Dublin to demand the immediate release of the Halawas.
The siblings sought refuge in the Al Fateh mosque after numerous people were killed during violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.
Almost 900 people are thought to have died in the Egyptian unrest in less than a week.
© UTV News