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Irishman held against his will in China for 3 years reunited with 'unbelievably happy' family

An Irishman who had been prevented from leaving China for nearly three years after a business dispute has arrived back in Ireland after mammoth diplomatic negotiations.

Richard O’Halloran was reunited with his family in Dublin after flying out of Shanghai last night and arriving in Ireland early this morning.

His wife Tara, who had campaigned for her husband’s release, tweeted photos of their reunion, saying the family is “unbelievably happy to have him back” and grateful for everyone’s support.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin said he “warmly welcomed” the release of Mr O’Halloran, and said that it had been “a very difficult journey for him and his family”.


The father-of-four had been trapped in China since travelling to Shanghai in February 2019.

Mr O’Halloran is an executive with CALS Ireland (China International Aviation Leasing Service), an aircraft leasing firm based in Dublin.

The company became involved in dispute with the Chinese authorities, after a crowdfunding scheme that had been organised before Mr O’Halloran joined the firm.

More on China

He travelled to China to meet with investors and address the issues raised, but was later detained at passport control when he attempted to return home.

He was given an exit ban, and was effectively blocked from leaving China for almost three years.

Mr O’Halloran was never charged with a crime or accused of any wrongdoing.

On Friday, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a deal had been agreed with Chinese authorities, and that Mr O’Halloran would finally be allowed to return home.


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