McFaul family 'delighted' at release


The family of the Irishman who was freed today after being kidnapped in Algeria, have expressed their joy at the news.

The father of Stephen McFaul (36) from Andersonstown, Belfast told Sky News that he was “most delighted” to hear of his son’s release.

Christopher McFaul described the last 48 hours as “hell” but said the family had been “very strong”. Stephen McFaul was an electrical engineer who had worked across west Africa for over a decade.

His son was an electrical engineer and was a supervisor on the oil fields who had worked across west Africa for over a decade, he said.

"I’m delighted, thrilled to bits, sorry for other people that are still there, but we’re very happy, over the moon” Marie McFaul told UTV.

Stephen McFaul’s son Dylan (13) said he “can’t wait” for his father to get home and he would tell him he is “never going back there”.

His sister Donna McBride said: “We are absolutely delighted that he is free and is unharmed. She said her brother was currently with officials in Algeria in a debriefing
exercise. “He is a very kind person. He would do a lot for anybody, he would do anything for anyone," she said.

“I feel so sorry for the rest of the families who have lost loved ones and others who are missing,” she said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was “greatly relieved” to hear that his ordeal had ended. “I wish him a safe return home to his loved ones,” he said.

He paid tribute to those involved in the effort to resolve the crisis.

“My thoughts are with the other oil-field workers and their families who have found themselves at the centre of this traumatic situation,” he said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said he was "extremely thankful and relieved" to learn that Mr McFaul was safe. "I spoke with his family yesterday, and I know how relieved they will be that he is well after his ordeal. This is the news that we all wanted to hear."

"At the same time, my thoughts are with the other oil-field workers who are caught up in this terrible situation and with their families who are also waiting for news at this difficult time," Mr Gilmore said.

The Belfast man had managed to contact his relatives twice before while in captivity.

But after receiving no further contact since yesterday, his family made a plea for him to be released unharmed, earlier today.

In a statement, issued through local MP Paul Maskey, they said they were very concerned about his welfare.

But just two and a half hours later, he made contact with them to say he was free.

Mr Maskey said Mr McFaul had phoned his wife Angela this afternoon to say he had been freed and was making his way to a safe camp.

“The family are overjoyed now,” he told RTE Radio. “The entire west Belfast community was fully behind them,” he said.

Mr McFaul, who is a father of two, works as an supervising electrican at the oil field. Algeria is one of a number of African countries he has worked in over an extensive career in the industry. He lives in Antrim and was last home on Boxing Day.

Additional reporting PA