Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has told the Dáil that Ibrahim Halawa has been visited 42 times by embassy staff since his arrest in Egypt in 2013.

He was responding to questions from Socialist Party deputy Paul Murphy on the current position facing the 19-year-old Irish citizen in an Egyptian jail.

Deputy Murphy also asked about allegations from a human rights lawyer that Ibrhahim had been a victim of multiple beatings, with whips, chains and sticks.

Minister Flanagan said allegations of mistreatment against the teenager had been raised at the highest level.

Deputy Murphy said the Government's approach was not working and that Ibrahim was still in prison, two years on.

He asked was it not now time for the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene? However, Deputy Flanagan said the trial was still ongoing.

He said: "While we continue to maintain extensive contacts with the Egyptian authorities at very high levels, the precedents suggested it was unrealistic to expect that there would be any release until the initial trial takes place and is concluded."

Minister Flanagan said Mr Halawa had been visited by embassy officials last week and during that visit and he had relaxed his hunger strike and was now taking liquids and some food.

He said he had been advised against the hunger strike.