Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has met with the family of Faris Heeney who was abducted over four years ago.

His mother, Norma Heeney, has been campaigning to have her son brought home from Egypt, where he is living with his father.

The six-year-old was taken from Ireland in 2009 by his uncle Moustafa Ismaeil.

Ismaeil was later arrested and is serving a six year sentence for abduction in Portlaoise prison.

Authorities in Ireland face difficulties in returning Faris to his mother because Egypt is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on child abduction.

Minister Fitzgerald met with the family for over an hour to discuss the situation.

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Justice also attended the meeting.

The minister said she told the family that the Government is looking into the possibility of negotiating a bilateral agreement with Eygpt.

She said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has written to the Egyptian justice minister about the possibility of negotiating such an agreement. 

However, she acknowledged it was a very difficult situation and one that was not easy to resolve.

The Heeney family has welcomed the development.

Faris’ grandmother, Marian Heeney, said there is some hope following today's meeting.

She admitted however that there is still a long way to go.

It is understood Faris is living with his father in Tanta, north of Cairo.