Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that he will speak with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi about the case of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa.

Earlier today, Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland Soha Gendi told RTÉ News that the two leaders would be in touch before the end of the month.

Confirming this, a statement from the Government said: "The Government continues to engage with the Egyptian authorities to ensure that Ibrahim Halawa is back home in Ireland with his family as soon as possible.

"The Taoiseach and President el-Sisi have agreed to speak by phone to discuss the matter."

Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney reaffirmed his determination and that of the Government in seeing Mr Halawa released from prison in Eygypt.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of Mr Halawa's arrest in Cairo.

Mr Halawa, from Firhouse in Dublin, was 17 when he was arrested during protests in support of Mohammed Mursi, who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

In a statement to mark the anniversary, the minister said he is sending a personal message to Mr Halawa today "expressing solidarity with him" and "encouraging him to stay strong and hopeful".

Mr Coveney said: "I welcome the fact that, earlier this month, Ibrahim finally had his day in court and his opportunity to defend himself against the charges that he faces, and I note that the group trial in which he is a defendant seems finally to be drawing to an end.

"I look forward to the conclusion of the judicial process, and to a resolution of this long-running and complex issue."

Family and friends of Mr Halawa gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin.

In a statement, his family said: "Today we say that four years is too much - four years in an Egyptian prison, four years of a mass trial, four years of hope of freedom that never came true, four years of waiting.

"One day is too much, four years is torture. We miss our brother desperately."


Interview: Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland Soha Gendi