Gardaí have removed the Afghan hunger strikers from St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

Several public order units have now left the area surrounding the cathedral.

Campaigners say the men did not leave voluntarily but did not resist.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said the situation had ended with the minors being taken into the care of the HSE and the adults into garda custody.

The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has confirmed that no deal was done with the group. He said the Department's position remains what it has been since last Sunday - that the group must seek asylum through the refugee system.

The protestors were in the seventh day of a hunger strike in pursuit of political asylum.

Earlier, the Church of Ireland said it was instructed by the Department of Justice to withdraw from all negotiations involving the asylum seekers.

Last night the department rejected proposals, agreed by church officials with the asylum seekers, aimed at resolving the situation.

The Department of Justice said it could not agree to compromises brokered by the Church of Ireland bishops, as they would almost certainly lead to copycat actions.

The department said it is not possible to enter into agreement involving commitments which go beyond what the protestors are entitled to under the asylum process.