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Sunday 25 August 2019

Return of Isil bride would set 'complex challenges'

Lisa Smith is being detained in a Syrian camp. Photo: Norma Costello
Lisa Smith is being detained in a Syrian camp. Photo: Norma Costello

Niamh Lynch

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said Isil bride Lisa Smith's return to Ireland would present "complex challenges".

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Equality said these challenges included "questions of public protection, the prosecution of offences, the protection of citizens' rights, particularly the rights of non-combatants, and de-radicalisation".

"None of which lend themselves to easy resolution," said the spokesperson. "The complexity of these cases is such that issues will arise where there is no ready solution and such cases can only be dealt with on a case-by-case basis."

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said "the Government has made clear that consular assistance, to which all Irish citizens are entitled, will be provided when it is possible to do so".

Mr Flanagan's comments come as Dundalk native Ms Smith denied her involvement in violence in Syria as she tries to return to Ireland with her two-year-old daughter.

The 37-year-old former Defence Forces member suggested that an example is being made of her and complained that she may be seen as a "monster".

Speaking to 'RTÉ News' from the Syrian camp she has been detained in since the collapse of Isil, Ms Smith said her decision to join "wasn't worth it".

"What we believed - we actually thought it was going to be an Islamic State... and we would all be joined as one and be very happy. It didn't happen. It wasn't worth it. We failed," said Ms Smith.

She also denied involvement in Isil violence or combat training.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he wanted to see Ms Smith return to Ireland, but not at a risk to Irish diplomats or military personnel.

Irish Independent

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