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28th Jan 2022

Taoiseach welcomes Richard O’Halloran’s return to Ireland after nearly three years trapped in China

Stephen Porzio

The Chinese Embassy in Ireland has said the Irishman has left China.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he “warmly” welcomes the returning home of Richard O’Halloran to Ireland, after the latter spending nearly three years trapped in China.

The father-of-four had been unable to leave China since travelling to the country in February 2019.

He went to Shanghai to try and resolve a dispute between the Chinese authorities and the firm he works for – aircraft leasing company China International Aviation Leasing Service (CALS Ireland).

Despite not being accused of wrongdoing and the dispute pre-dating his employment at the firm, Chinese authorities had blocked O’Halloran from leaving the country.

However, in a statement on Friday (28 January), Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney confirmed that the travel restrictions placed on the Irishman have now been lifted, enabling him to return home to the Emerald Isle shortly.

O’Halloran is said to have since left China and is expected to arrive home on Saturday.

“This has been a difficult time for Mr. O’Halloran and his family,” Coveney said.

“The government has been actively engaged on the matter throughout and is delighted it has reached a successful result.

“The Minister wishes to acknowledge the recent cooperation of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland and of the Chinese authorities and to thank all those who have assisted in achieving this positive outcome.

“The Minister wishes Mr. O’Halloran a happy reunion with his family.”

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach took to Twitter to “warmly” welcome O’Halloran’s return to Ireland.

“I acknowledge the work of the many people in Ireland and in China who have helped make this day happen,” Martin said.

“It has been a very difficult journey for him and his family. Thinking of them today.”

The Chinese Embassy in Ireland issued the following statement on the matter:

“The related court in Shanghai handles Mr. Richard O’Halloran’s case according to law, and the exit ban on him has already been lifted.

“We notice that Mr. Richard O’Halloran has left China. It is expected that he continues to fulfil his pledges and commitment and undertake his corresponding legal obligations.”

Main image via Facebook/Prime Time

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