Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said his Government is working to reunite Ibrahim Halawa with his family after he was freed from jail in Egypt.

The 21-year-old’s release comes a month after he was acquitted of all charges related to a mass Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo in 2013.

“Really, really delighted to hear that Ibrahim Halawa has been released from prison,” the Taoiseach said.

“He’s receiving full consular assistance at the moment.

“We are helping him to get back to Ireland to be reunited with his family and get on with his life and his studies.”

Arriving for the second day of the European Council summit in Brussels, Mr Varadkar said: “He spent far too long in an Egyptian prison.”

He also appealed for the family’s wishes for privacy to be respected.

Mr Halawa, from Firhouse in Dublin, was jailed in 2013 after being arrested in a mosque amid protests over the removal of the then Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. He was one of almost 500 people in a protracted mass trial.

He was released from prison at 11pm Irish time on Thursday.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “I am delighted that Ibrahim has finally been released after his long and difficult ordeal, and that he will soon be able to return home and be reunited with his family.

“I know that Ibrahim and his family have asked for privacy during this time and I hope that this will be respected. Ibrahim has been through a lot, and I think we all need to give him the time and space that he needs.

“On behalf of the Government, I want to make clear that all appropriate ongoing support that Ibrahim requires in the period ahead will be available to him.”

Mr Coveney said he expected Mr Halawa would return to Ireland on Sunday or Monday. The minister said he first needed to secure an immigration stamp from the authorities.

“In order to do that he needs to turn up in person at the immigration ministry,” Mr Coveney told RTE Radio One.

“The timing and problem with that is we are in the Egyptian weekend, which is Friday and Saturday. That office is not open on a Friday and has very limited opening on a Saturday so we are obviously working to get him home as quickly as possible but it will be either Sunday or Monday by the time he is home, I suspect.”