Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín says he welcomes the support of the Vice President of the EU Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles for the release of South Dublin man Richard O’Halloran.
The father of four from Foxrock hasn’t seen his family since February 2019 when he travelled to China to resolve a dispute involving the Chinese owner of the firm he works for – Dublin-based aircraft leasing company China International Aviation Leasing Service (CALS Ireland).
There are no allegations of wrongdoing against Mr O’Halloran, but Chinese authorities have refused to let him leave the country.
The exit ban that he was subjected to was lifted by The Chinese PSB (Public Security Bureau) last month, however, when he tried to board a flight at Shanghai airport on 10 January he was turned away by authorities.
Peadar Tóibín says he contacted the Office of the Vice President in February and has received a letter from the Fontelles which states:
“The EU stands in full solidarity with Ireland in its efforts to safeguard Mr O’Halloran’s rights. My thoughts are with Mr O’Halloran’s family, and his wife and children in particular, who have been unable to see him for several years”.
The Vice President also states “the EU stands ready to support the Irish authorities in these efforts, where appropriate”.
Peadar Tóibín, who has met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland on this case has also been in contact with the office of the Chinese Ambassador to the EU, said:
“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 am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to now make full use of the offer from the Vice President of the EU Commission to use the diplomatic heft of the EU to help secure the safe return of Richard to Ireland as soon as possible”.