41 Afghan asylum seekers have vowed to continue their hunger strike despite Justice Minister Michael McDowell's announcement today that he will not be negotiating with them. 

33 Afghan men began the protest in a section of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin and they were joined by eight more men overnight.

Mr McDowell said his department does not deal with asylum seekers en bloc and that he could see no advantage in their action.

The group, who began their sit-in at the cathedral yesterday, claim their lives will be in danger if they are sent back to Afghanistan.

They have asked the minister to review the decision to send them home.

Today the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, visited the men and said the action was inappropriate as the Cathedral does not have the facility to cope.

However, earlier cathedral authorities said there is no question of asking for the men to be removed.

Scott Hayes, Administer of the Cathedral, said the group was welcome to stay if the church could help resolve the situation. The men were also visited by an Imam from the Dublin mosque who urged them to take water.

However, the group spokesman, Osman Hotak, said the men would continue to refuse food and water until they start dying one by one unless they are granted asylum.

Supporters are bringing blankets and sleeping bags to the men.

A 16-year-old boy who was taken to hospital last night suffering from a kidney complaint has been released and has rejoined the protestors.