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Gardaí travel to Australia to gather intelligence on jihadi bride Lisa Smith from former colleagues

Gardaí and the Defence Forces have been carrying out their own separate investigations into Smith.

Image: Tom Conachy

GARDAÍ HAVE TRAVELLED to Australia to interview a former member of the Defence Forces who has information about Lisa Smith as the investigation into the former Air Corps member turned ISIS bride continues.

Gardaí and the Defence Forces have been carrying out their own separate investigations into Smith and are attempting to find out if she might pose a risk to state security if she were to be allowed come home.

A Dundalk native, Smith previously worked in the Irish Defence Forces but left service in 2011 after converting to Islam. It is believed she departed for Syria in 2015 after her first marriage broke down. While there, she married a British IS fighter.

Gardaí have been tasked with generating a risk assessment report on Smith and are in the process of gathering information from those who served with her and who were her commanders at the time. 

Despite a number of meetings with superior officers in the Defence Forces and Air Corps, it is understood gardaí have not been satisfied with the amount of information which has been forthcoming from senior figures from within the Defence Forces. 

As a result of this, detectives have been dispatched to a number of regions to interview those who served with Smith and those who attempted to raise their concerns about her behaviour. Another former member of the Defence Forces has been interviewed in Dublin also.

Smith has repeatedly claimed that she never once held a firearm or instructed ISIS fighters on how to assemble, maintain or fire weapons. This is something which gardaí are investigating. 

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday published earlier this year, she said: “I didn’t even own a gun.

“My husband many times said to me, ‘you want me to buy you one?’ I said no.

“He said ‘it’s just for self-defence’ or, I said: ‘I don’t want, I don’t want’.

“I think anyone that knows me, you know in the army or outside the army or anywhere in my life, will know that, they know me, that I wouldn’t pick up the weapon and fight and stuff like that.

“I didn’t do it, I didn’t own a rifle, I didn’t teach them anything.”

Well-placed sources have told TheJournal.ie that Smith has told investigators she has left her military past behind and her and has even claimed she can’t remember her initial tests of elementary training, known as TOETs. This is something the Defence Forces investigators believe is incredibly unlikely. One source said: “Anyone who ever served could strip and assemble a rifle in their sleep”

The Department of Defence was asked if it were satisfied with the cooperation of senior Defence Forces members in relation to the Lisa Smith probe. It was also asked to comment on the status of the investigation and the international garda investigation. A spokesperson said that “as this is a Garda matter, it would be inappropriate for us to comment”.

A garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on any such operational matters.”

Smith is currently living in the Ayn Issa camp in north east Syria, which is under the effective control of the Kurdish government. 

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