Friday 6 December 2019

Plans in place to care for Isil bride Lisa Smith's daughter when she returns to Ireland - Taoiseach

Lisa Smith faces questions
Lisa Smith faces questions
Smith pictured during her days in the Defence Forces
Dundalk native Lisa Smith in a BBC interview
Lisa Smith
Former Irish soldier Lisa Smith
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar gave an assurance today that plans are in place to care for the daughter of Lisa Smith when the Islamic State sympathiser returns home from Turkey.

The return of the former member of the Defence Forces is expected shortly and she is likely to be interviewed by gardai as soon as she steps foot in the country.

Mr Varadkar said at the Garda College in Templemore this afternoon that Ms Smith’s two year old daughter is an Irish citizen who deserves to be protected.

But he said he was satisfied that overall plans for Ms Smith’s return are in place and involve the Garda, the Defence Forces and Tusla, the child and family agency.

He accepted that it was a “tricky situation” but said they had to ensure that the child’s welfare was protected.

He said the case of Lisa Smith was “slightly different” but she was also an Irish citizen and entitled to come home.

It would not be fair to expect the Turkish authorities to hold onto her forever, he said. But he added that the gardai would want to talk to her when she arrived here.

Mr Varadkar also pointed out that relatives of Ms Smith had been in contact and Tusla were aware of any situations that might develop.

The Taoiseach did not expand on those comments.

But it is known that the gardai have been carrying out a criminal investigation for some time and officers will want to interview Ms Smith, either voluntarily or under arrest, when she lands here.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he was satisfied with the plans in place and he had presented those plans to the government.

He said the numbers returning here from foreign theatres of war were small, compared to elsewhere in Europe and the response in this country had to be suitable and proportionate.

Mr Harris did not believe there was any need for a programme of deradicalisation as Ireland was not facing the likely problems being experienced by other European countries.

He said the gardai were constantly reviewing the threat posed to the State by international groups and a response to those coming back from foreign theatres had also been planned in a bespoke fashion, that was proportionate to the size of the problem.

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