Government Needs to Step Up Campaign for Richard O’Halloran’s Release - Tóibín
Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD has questioned why the Irish government have been so passive in seeking the release of Richard O’Halloran from China.
An Teachta Tóibín a former College classmate of Richard’s, has been in contact with Richard’s family, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and has met with the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland. He has also been in contact with the office of the Chinese Ambassador to the EU and the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on this case.
“This is a heart breaking case. Richard is being held against his will despite being completely innocent of any wrong doing for nearly 2 years. He is the only Irish citizen ever to be the subject of a Chinese exit ban. The Chinese exit ban is due to an allegation against a shareholder in the aircraft leasing company he worked for. Richard travelled to China voluntarily two years ago, to try and resolve the issue. Shockingly he has been detained there ever since. There is no complaint, allegation, charge or suspicion of wrongdoing against Richard. Richard O’Halloran has fully cooperated with all legal requests made of him”.
“In Ireland his wife and 4 children have suffered enormous stress and worry. The pressure that has been put on this family is indescribable. They need their father back in Ireland now”.
“I have met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on Richard’s case and I have questioned him a number of times on the issue in order to motivate the government to up their efforts to bring Richard home. However the government have taken a “softly softly” approach with the Chinese Authorities. They have said that they have used this strategy due to the likely resistance of China to a more vocal campaign by the Irish government. However this approach has not worked”.
“I met with the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, He Xiangdong, the week before Christmas to appeal to him for the return of Richard O’Halloran to Ireland. I requested at that stage that the Chinese Ambassador would meet with Richard’s family. I have also been in contact with the office of the Chinese Ambassador to the EU seeking that he would meet with Richard’s family and help resolve this grave injustice. I have also been in contact with the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, requesting them to do all in their power to bring this heart-breaking case to an end with the speedy release of Richard. Its beyond time that the government step up the Campaign for Richard”.