Friday 6 December 2019

Taoiseach: Smith could face charges

Isil sympathiser due to be flown back to Dublin

Lisa Smith. Photo: Tom Conachy
Lisa Smith. Photo: Tom Conachy

Alan O'Keeffe and Wayne O'Connor

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said gardai may be in a position to charge Lisa Smith on her return to Ireland.

The Isil sympathiser is due back in Dublin with her daughter by tomorrow alongside senior gardai, army and diplomatic officials.

Yesterday the Taoiseach confirmed arrangements have been put in place to care for Ms Smith's two-year-old daughter.

Gardai expect to question the 38-year-old shortly after her arrival and a prosecution may follow, he said. She is expected to be questioned about suspected terror offences.

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"It is anticipated that two Irish citizens, Lisa Smith and her daughter, will return to Ireland this weekend," Mr Varadkar said yesterday.

"When it comes to her daughter, she is a child. She will be protected and social services are ready to do that.

"In terms of Lisa Smith, gardai are ready to speak to her and they may be in a position to charge her and if they do then a prosecution may follow."

Ms Smith had been expected to return yesterday but has not yet travelled from Turkey, according to sources. Plans in place to carefully manage her repatriation are now expected to be put in motion in the coming 24 hours.

Ms Smith and her daughter are expected to return to Ireland together on a commercial flight to Dublin. Members of the Army Ranger Wing and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs flew to Turkey last Friday and will travel back with them.

Once Ms Smith is repatriated she will be met by anti-terrorist officers. She will be given an opportunity to be voluntarily taken away for an interview. If she does not agree she will be arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act to be questioned. This will form part of an investigation into Ms Smith's recent past, focusing on her life in Syria.

Military intelligence personnel and Garda Special Branch are said to be interested in her movements since 2015 when she is believed to have first travelled to Syria.

The Army Ranger Wing will be responsible for Ms Smith's safety as she travels to the departing flight. Gardai will take control once she touches down on Irish soil.

Arrangements have been put in place to care for Ms Smith's daughter.

She is likely to be placed in her family's care when she returns unless there is an objection from Tusla.

Sunday Independent

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