Anxious Moments For Nenagh Family Whose Son Is In Syria

A NENAGH family has had to cancel their plans to be at their son’s wedding in Syria because of on-going violence in the Middle-East state.

A NENAGH family has had to cancel their plans to be at their son’s wedding in Syria because of on-going violence in the Middle-East state.

And Teresa Starr from Grange said that she would be “happy to see her son come home” from the strife-torn country.

Teresa was speaking following a weekend of violence in the Middle-East state which has left over 150 dead. Her son, Stephen, has been working in the capital, Damascus, for the past four years, and is due to be married there to his Syrian girlfriend, Julianna, on Friday, May 6.

However the wedding party of 15 - which included Teresa and her husband, also Stephen - who were due to jet out for the happy occasion over the next few days, have had to cancel their travel plans after the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a do not travel warning this Monday.

Irish people visiting Syria need a tourist visa, and the Syrians have stoped issuing them.

“It’s hard to know what to do,” said Teresa. “It looks now like he’ll just have a quiet wedding and it looks like he is going to bring it forward.”

Teresa said that Stephen was scheduled to come home this summer and may hold his reception in Ireland.

She said that while she anxious about his safety, Stephen was acting as if everything was normal.

“I was just talking to him this Tuesday and he said it was a nornal day in Damascus. He is not concerned about anything at the moment. When you watch television or read the articles about what is happening it seems frightening, but talking to him it seems to be much calmer,” she said.

However, she admitted that she didn’t watch any of the scenes from Syria on YouTube or the web because “you have to be positive”.

“At the moment he is not changing his plans to come home. You have to trust him. He is the one on the ground,” said Teresa, but she said that he may now register with the Department of Foreign Affairs to make them aware of where he is.

“A lot could change in two weeks’ time when he has to renew his visa, which he must do on a regular basis. He may then be ordered to leave the country. A lot will depend on what is happening.”

She described the situation as “fluid” and said that his family were constantly in touch with Stephen.

Teresa said that Stephen’s bride-to-be Julianna, was anxious that they all travel out for the wedding.

Julianna was in Nenagh in the summer of 2009, and Teresa said that the Syrians were “very much like ourselves. They are very family oriented and she feels it’s not right to have the wedding without all the family being there. Hopefully we will have a better story to tell later on.”