Monday 25 March 2019

Isil bride is entitled to help of State 'like any Irish citizen in trouble' - Defence Minister

Diplomatic help: Lisa Smith served in the Defence Forces
Diplomatic help: Lisa Smith served in the Defence Forces
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe has said Isil bride Lisa Smith is entitled to diplomatic help from the State "like any Irish citizen in trouble".

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs had still not positively identified the woman who appeared in media reports from Syria as Dundalk woman and former Defence Forces member Ms Smith (37).

However, the minister said it would be a matter for An Garda Síochána if and when she returns to Ireland.

Speaking to reporters at the Glen of Imaal yesterday where he was attending a Defence Forces training exercise, Mr Kehoe said: "I've had briefings on this but they are internal briefings [involving] the security of the State and I intend to keep those briefings to myself."

Asked if he was concerned that Ms Smith may have passed on any information she came by through her work with the Defence Forces, he said that would be a matter "for the internal security of the Defence Forces".

"I will talk to the chief of staff on that issue if that is the case, if that person is confirmed as a former member of the Irish Defence Forces."

Ms Smith served in the Air Corps before she left the Defence Forces in 2011. She converted to Islam before travelling to Syria where she married a man. She is being detained in Syria on suspicion of Isil membership.

"Like any Irish citizen that gets in trouble, be it on holiday or working abroad, they receive diplomatic assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs. That will not change on this occasion," Mr Kehoe said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News