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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Wife of Richard O’Halloran 'overwhelmed at support’ as family mark two years of Irishman’s detention in China

Hundreds gathered online this evening for a prayer service via Zoom.

HUNDREDS GATHERED ONLINE this evening for a prayer service to mark two years since Irishman Richard O’Halloran was detained in China. 

Richard’s wife Tara said the family have been overwhelmed with the support they’ve received as Richard’s detainment in Shanghai continues, despite no allegations of wrongdoing being levelled against him. 

“We really are so grateful for everybody’s support and kindness, and we’re just overwhelmed by how lovely everybody has been,” Tara told those gathered via Zoom.   

“We’ll just keep on fighting until we finally get him home.” 

Richard thanked everyone for their good wishes and support in the last two years, saying Tara and the kids have been his “rock”.

“It’s been made easier for me through them.”

O’Halloran travelled to China in February 2019 to resolve an ongoing commercial and legal issue involving the Chinese owner of the firm he works for – Dublin-based aircraft leasing company China International Aviation Leasing Service. Chinese authorities have refused to let the 45-year-old leave the country. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and CALS Ireland are currently brokering a deal to be put to the Chinese authorities which they hope results in O’Halloran’s return to Ireland.

Leading the online prayer service, Fr Gerard O’Connor said people had come together this evening as they have “an extensive amount of empathy” with what Richard and his family are going through.

“We trust that through the power of our words and our thoughts that something good will come out of this gathering and that our words will have no frontiers, and that they will be of help and support to Richard and Tara. This is a moment of prayerful solidarity,” Fr O’Connor said. 

Tonight, we keep hope alive. Though we are apart from each other. And there’s a huge distance between us and Richard. We lift our gazes, not to what stands between us, or what stands before us.

During the service, Fr O’Connor played a music piece from Richard and Tara’s wedding to “celebrate the gift of love that they share, trusting that love can overcome most things”.

Richard’s sister, Jessica, said the family prays that the hope of those gathered this evening “stirs seeds of hope in our beloved Richard”.

“As a family, during the anguish and trials of recent times, the gift of friendship has helped us to keep hope alive. We would like to pray a blessing of hope, upon all those here tonight, and upon all those whose gestures of kindness and support has helped resource us.”

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Adam Daly

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