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Lisa Smith says she fears her daughter will be seen as a terrorist's child if she returns to Ireland

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he wants her to come back to Ireland, but noted concerns over security risks and cost.

Image of Lisa Smith
Image of Lisa Smith
Image: Getty

Updated Jul 18th 2019, 11:35 AM

THE IRISH WOMAN who travelled to the Islamic State in Syria and is currently being detained at a refugee camp, said she fears her daughter will be seen as a child of a terrorist if she returns to Ireland. 

Lisa Smith (37) who is originally from Dundalk, in Co Louth, has been seeking the Government’s help in returning to Ireland, after travelling to join ISIS several years ago. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadakar and the Department of Justice have both said they are reviewing the circumstances around Lisa Smith’s movements abroad, and that a security review will be carried out before she re-enters Ireland. 

Smith has insisted she did not commit any crimes in the name of the terrorist group and that she had no involvement in training young girls.

In an interview with RTÉ’s Primetime show, part of which was aired on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme on Radio 1, the former Defence Forces member said she fears her daughter will be seen as a terrorist’s child if they return to Ireland. 

“This is what I’m worried about though. I do have my concerns about going back to Ireland because of this. And that’s why I say like if things like that happened, I believe things are forgotten in time. 

“Right now, yes everything is public. Everything is crazy, everything is up in the air, then things die down, something else will happen in the world, or something will happen in Ireland.

“And over time people forget about things. In a year or two, people forget things, in three years, four. New generations come, new life comes, new things happen and people forget.”

Smith reiterated her previous claims that she never committed a crime and said allegations that she trained young girls was “news to me”. 

“I’m not out to do anything, I told you I’m just a person that came to the Islamic State, and I do know there are people here with extreme and radical views, really extreme and radical views,” she said.

“I don’t want to even communicate with these people but I’m not like that. I came here and it didn’t work out.

“Whether they believe it or not that’s the truth, I’m telling you for myself I didn’t go out to fight.”

‘I do want her to come home’

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he wants Smith to come back to Ireland.

Varadkar said that he is “very conscious” there is a child, Smith’s daughter, involved in the situation.

“I definitely want her child to be able to come home and I would never separate her child from their mother, so yes I do want her to come home,” Varadkar said, noting that there are risks that have to be kept in mind.

“We have to bear in mind the fact that we don’t want to put at risk any of our personnel, diplomats or military people.

“We have to bear in mind the fact that there is a cost associated with this and there are lots of Irish citizens around the world who run into difficulty and we don’t fly them home, we don’t send the military out to bring people home from Australia or Singapore or Cairo, for example, in the case of Ibrahim Halawa,” he said.

Varadkar also noted that there are “security issues” that have to be kept in mind and that “should she return home that the gardaí will want to talk to her”.

Smith previously worked on the government jet as a member of the Defence Forces and gave her opinion of some of the Irish politicians she worked with.

“I like Bertie, he was very sound. Mary McAleese, she was down to earth as well. Michael Martin, I liked flying around with him as well, he was OK. There was a few of them were nice.”

The full interview with Lisa Smith will be shown during the Prime Time programme tonight, with the broadcaster reporting Smith saying she doesn’t think she will ever return to Ireland.

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