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Lisa Smith Norma Costello
Dublin Airport

Lisa Smith arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning to Ireland

She arrived at Dublin Airport shortly before 10.30am.

LAST UPDATE | 1 Dec 2019

LISA SMITH HAS been arrested by gardaí this morning after arriving back in Ireland.

The former Defence Forces member who was married to an Islamic State (IS) fighter landed with her daughter at Dublin Airport shortly before 10.30am on board Turkish Airlines flight 1975 from Istanbul. 

She was being accompanied by three consular officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, members of the Army Ranger Wing, and a Turkish security officer.

The Irishwoman was arrested by gardaí shortly after the flight landed on suspicion of terrorist offences following her deportation from Turkey.

She is currently being detained at a South Dublin Garda station under the provisions of Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act 1939.

Smith’s daughter is now being cared for by relatives, gardaí have said. 

In a statement this morning, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said:

“On her arrival in Dublin, Lisa Smith was met by An Garda Síochána.  In the case of Ms. Smith’s child, established procedures for her care will be followed.  

“An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions are responsible for criminal investigations based on facts and evidence in all cases and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on those matters,” he added. 

“This is a sensitive case and I want to reassure people that all relevant State agencies are closely involved. 

“A multi-agency network is in place here comprising agency personnel who engage on an ongoing basis with international colleagues regarding emerging practice in relation to the complex issue of radicalisation.  This network will coordinate engagement on a case by case basis as and when appropriate,” Flanagan said. 

Smith had lived in Syria until Turkey’s recent incursion into the country. She had been captured by Kurdish forces in northeast Syria after Islamic State fighters lost control of their final stronghold.

She was being held with her two-year old daughter in the Al-Hawl displacement camp for the wives and children of Islamic State (IS) fighters.

A garda investigation into the Irishwoman’s activities while with the terrorist group in Syria is continuing.

Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that gardaí “are going to want to speak to” Smith upon her arrival in Ireland. He said:

They may be in a position to charge her. If they do, then prosecution may follow. 

Tusla – the Child and Family Agency – is also involved in welfare plans for Smith’s child, it emerged earlier this week.

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