Irishman Richard O’Halloran allowed to return home from China after three years

·2-min read

Irishman Richard O’Halloran, who has been prevented from leaving China for almost three years, will be allowed to return home, it has been confirmed.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said his department has been working on ensuring the safe return of Mr O’Halloran.

Mr Coveney said he wishes Mr O’Halloran a happy reunion with his family.

He is expected to arrive in Ireland at some stage on Saturday.

He had been working for a Dublin-based aircraft leasing firm when it became involved in a legal dispute with the Chinese authorities.

They blocked Mr O’Halloran from leaving the country for almost three years.

The 46-year-old father of four has been prevented from seeing his family during that time.

Mr Coveney travelled to China last year in a bid to secure Mr O’Halloran’s release from travel restrictions.

He said he was “pleased” to confirm that the restrictions placed on Mr O’Halloran have been lifted, enabling him to return home to Ireland shortly.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “This has been a difficult time for Mr O’Halloran and his family.

“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.”

Mr Coveney tweeted: “Very good news, after many months of work.

“Thank you to everyone who assisted.

“I want to wish Richard and his family well following a traumatic three years and hope that their privacy will be respected on his return home.”

Irish premier Micheal Martin said: “Warmly welcome the returning home of Richard O’Halloran.

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

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