Around 30 Irish have travelled to Syrian conflict
Published 19/11/2015 | 02:30
AROUND 30 Irish nationals have travelled to Syria to engage in the conflict there over recent years.
However, Adam Argiag, a Dublin-based researcher who has investigated the issue of foreign fighters, said he had come across no information suggesting Isil had recruited Irish men to their cause.
Mr Argiag contributed to an EU-sponsored report published last year.
It documented how the families of Irish fighters who had travelled to Syria denied they were jihadists or terrorists and claimed they had other motivations, such as fighting the Assad regime.
Mr Argiag told the Irish Independent no new information had come to light since then to suggest any Irish Muslims had travelled to join Isil.
He said he had also not encountered anyone voicing public support for Isil within the Irish Muslim community.
While several British Isil converts have used social media in a bid to radicalise others, there has been little evidence of this occurring in Ireland.
Last year, one suspected Isil fighter, who was never identified but described himself as Irish-Nigerian, used social media to urge fellow Muslims to travel from Europe and elsewhere in order to fight in Iraq and Syria. Twitter and Ask.fm accounts used by this individual were subsequently suspended.
The authorities in Ireland have not said whether they regarded the accounts as genuine.
The supposed fighter, who appeared to be a teenager or in his early 20s, posted photographs on Twitter portraying himself in Syria wearing combat gear and carrying machine guns.
He also used the Ask.fm site, where people can post questions for him to answer, to urge fellow Muslims to take up arms.
Advice was also given on how to get to Syria without raising the suspicions of intelligence agencies.
Gardaí here do not believe Ireland is considered a target for Islamic terrorists, although it may be used as a "transport hub" for extremists.
Officers said Ireland's threat level remained unchanged following an assessment carried out in the wake of Friday night's attacks in Paris.
Security sources said a small number of persons of interest were being monitored on a continual basis.