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Saturday 17 August 2019

Isil bride Lisa Smith faces 'scrutiny and hostility' if she returns home

Lisa Smith. Picture: Tom Conachy
Lisa Smith. Picture: Tom Conachy
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Former justice minister Dermot Ahern said Isil bride Lisa Smith may be better off not returning to Ireland, because she will face "scrutiny and hostility".

Mr Ahern knew Ms Smith, from Dundalk, Co Louth, when she was a member of the Defence Forces, serving on the Government jet.

He said she had a "bubbly" personality and had made herself known to him, given they were both from the same Co Louth town.

Mr Ahern admitted his own neighbours are not supportive of her return and others would feel embittered about her return.

But he said the Government could not "forsake her" and her two-year-old daughter Ruqayya.

Mr Ahern's neighbours are related to Katie Healy and husband David Nolan, from Co Cork, who was shot during the Isil attack on the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015.

Mr Ahern said he didn't believe the Government should follow the British government by stripping her citizenship, as has been the case with British Isil bride Shamima Begum.

"One point of view is she would nearly be better not coming home, as she would be subject to a lot of scrutiny, hostility and examination," Mr Ahern said on RTÉ's 'Marian Finucane' show.

"She would be hounded, but I know behind her there's a family who are extremely worried, as are the Healys, who are worried about people like that being treated compassionately. My immediate neighbours are the Healys.

"Katie Healy, the daughter and her then boyfriend, now husband, David Nolan, were badly injured and he was particularly, in the Bataclan and I have to say the Healys...

"There are conflicting views.

"I see the Government view, particularly the fact there's a two-year-old child - they can't forsake her and the child - and say they will see to it she's brought home."

He added: "It's a difficult one. Generally Ireland showed compassion to people in difficulties abroad."

The politician said he remembered Ms Smith well as a Dundalk native on the Government jet, whom he'd shared jokes with and had a "relationship" with, especially given they both hailed from the same Co Louth town.

"She had a very distinct Dundalk accent and made herself known to me," he said.

"She was very bubbly and nice.

"We used to slag the rest of the staff and ministers on the jet, that the jet was taken over by people from Dundalk.

"It was only when I picked up the papers and saw her name, I said: 'Oh my goodness, she took a very funny turn in her career path.'"

Irish Independent

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