The Irish Government and its quango-class loves berating foreign countries over their human rights abuses – whether it be threatening the Taliban to allow free flow of migrants into the West to supporting CIA-inspired colour revolutionaries in Belarus, or any other of the hundreds of ‘calls’ the Minister issues and which prokaryotic ‘journalists’ dutifully repeat.
And yet, the Irish State has a weak record on standing up for Irish citizens abroad – notwithstanding the revelations of RUC and British State collusion with Loyalist death squads in the North in the past. The case of Richard O’Halloran is the most egregious sign of national weakness to date.
Richard O’Halloran flew to China to settle a commercial dispute three years ago where he was kidnapped by the Chinese Communist Party.
The reasoning behind his detention was that the outstanding dispute be settled – and yet, despite the dispute being essentially settled, O’Halloran remains in custody with ever-changing requirements imposed by the Court that he must comply with. “His brother, David O’Halloran, wrote to Coveney last week. He said terms had been agreed and contracts finalised between all the relevant parties to resolve the legal dispute.”
It seems that either the Department of Foreign Affairs is wracked with incompetence (which is unlikely given the successful bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council), or filled with contemptuous vacile cowards. The Government seems so deathly afraid of angering China in case China engages in a similar form of economic warfare against Ireland as it is currently doing against Lithuania.
While I would not be one cheering on Western interventionism in other countries in general terms, this non-interventionist stance is not a principle which comes before all other considerations – indeed, where Irish interests are concerned, particularly in vindicating the rights of Irish citizens, I believe in aggressive intervention.
What I believe Minister Coveney ought to do is arrive in Beijing and make clear the unacceptable nature of O’Halloran’s continued detention.
Should Beijing fail to come to its senses, then the Irish Government, in my eyes, should engage in our own form of economic warfare against China – the Irish Government should refuse to ratify the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between the EU and China, the Irish Government should immediately withdraw visas from Chinese students.
The Irish Government should summon the Chinese ambassador and expel them from the country. The Irish Government should consider contravening European law and imposing trade restrictions against goods coming from or going to China. The Irish Government should threaten legal recognition of Taiwan.
These options will not likely dissuade China from acting in such a way in future in general, but they may think twice about engaging in such flagrant disrespect of Irish nationals given the outsized response their actions would generate.
It’s high time the DFA stop sending tampons to Syria, and start retaliating when our people are abused by foreign governments.