Sunday 25 August 2019

Government 'failed' over laws to stop Isil recruitment

Wants to come home: Isil bride Lisa Smith hopes to return
Wants to come home: Isil bride Lisa Smith hopes to return
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The Government has been accused of failure in relation to making it illegal for people to travel to join Isil and other terror groups.

As Irish officials work on the repatriation of Dundalk woman Lisa Smith and her child from the Al-Hawl camp in Syria, there is renewed scrutiny on Ireland's failure to follow up on an EU directive to outlaw travel abroad for terrorist purposes.

It is understood that the Government is not aware of a second Irish child in the camp as has been reported locally. Enquires are being made but at this stage there is no firm evidence of other Irish passports holders in the camp where Smith is based.

In 2017, an EU directive recommended that all member states legislate to outlaw citizens from travelling to join terrorist groups. Some 22 countries moved to make laws on the back of the directive but Ireland did not.

That legislation would enable people who travelled to join the terror group be prosecuted on their return - or in advance of leaving - here in Ireland under domestic law.

But the Government did not progress any laws in this area and last night the Justice Minister declined to offer an explanation as to why or to answer questions on whether legislation was planned.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said that decision has had "serious consequences".

"The Government needs to explain why it has failed to introduce this law and it needs to recognise that this failure means that Irish people who went to Syria to fight with Isis may not be at risk of any criminal prosecution," he said. The Department of Justice said it could not comment on individual cases but said that the level of threat faced by the State is kept under constant review.

Irish Independent

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