Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has contacted Egyptian authorities to propose opening talks on a bilateral agreement on the return of abducted children.

Ireland is a party to the Hague Convention, an international agreement governing the return of abducted children, but Egypt is not.

Mr Shatter said he had written to the Egyptian Minister for Justice and to the Egyptian embassy in Dublin earlier this month, proposing the development of an agreement between the two countries in place of the Hague Convention.

He said he felt it was possible to reach such an agreement, but that he had not yet heard back from the Egyptian authorities so he did not know what their stance on the issue would be.

Mr Shatter said it was important that children were never unlawfully removed from one country to another.

He said that countries had an interest in protecting their citizens and children in their countries to ensure laws are obeyed in this area.