Wednesday 21 February 2018

Nice attacks: Fitzgerald pledges to deport jihadists here without trial

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Suspected jihadists face being expelled from Ireland - even if the evidence against them would be deemed insufficient to support a criminal prosecution.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said the State had a right to protect its citizens and that she would "make no apology" for deporting individuals in cases where intelligence suggested they were supporting Islamic extremism.

Ms Fitzgerald also said that while Ireland was "not likely" to face attack, the authorities are keeping tabs on "a limited number" of suspected extremist sympathisers here and need to be vigilant.

The minister said a 'lone-wolf' attack, such as last week's terror atrocity in Nice, was "always a possibility".

Her comments, in an interview with the Irish Independent, come less than a fortnight after a 52-year-old man - alleged to be the foremost Irish-based facilitator of Isil fighters - was deported to Jordan, despite claims that he had previously been tortured by security services there. Ms Fitzgerald would not comment on the case specifically.

Read More: 'I admire anyone who survives in politics, it’s rough'

However, she said such deportations were justified in order to protect Irish citizens.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the man who mowed through a crowd with a truck and killed 84 Bastille Day revellers in Nice had phoned home just hours earlier and sent a picture of himself laughing from the French city.

The revelation was made by his brother, as 18 more victims continued to fight for their lives.

The attack by delivery man Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel plunged France into new grief and fear, just eight months after jihadists killed 130 in Paris.

And Turkey intensified its crackdown yesterday in the wake of Friday's failed coup, detaining 6,000 people - as world leaders and opposition politicians raised concerns that Recep Tayyip Erdogan would use the coup attempt as a pretext to consolidate his power.

Irish Independent

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