Leo Varadkar grants Isis bride Lisa Smith permission to return to Ireland
News

Leo Varadkar grants Isis bride Lisa Smith permission to return to Ireland

A FORMER Irish soldier who was detained in Syria because of her alleged links to Isil will be allowed to return home.

Lisa Smith from Co Louth was a member of the Irish Defence Forces until 2011.

She later converted to Islam and left Ireland for Syria in 2015.

Smith will now be allowed to re-enter the country with her two-year-old son after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar granted them permission to return.

The 37-year-old  was detained by US forces in northern Syria after fleeing the remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s ‘caliphate’ with her child.

Advertisement

Varadkar said that, while more information was required, Smith and her child still had right to return to Ireland, and it was the “compassionate” thing to do.

"I know the authorities there will want to interrogate her to see if she has been involved in any crimes there," he said [via The Telegraph].

"But it's very possible that she was never a combatant."

"We really need to get to the bottom of the facts here, carry out a security assessment to see if the Syrian authorities want to carry out a prosecution or not.

"But ultimately this is an Irish citizen and we don't believe that removing an Irish citizen's citizenship from her or her child and rendering her stateless would be either the right or compassionate thing to do."

"We'll make sure that if she returns to Ireland, she isn't a threat to anybody here either."

Varadkar has made no secret of the fact he does not agree with the idea of making any individual stateless.

Advertisement

“I think it’s bad practice to revoke someone’s citizenship and render them stateless and leave them to be someone else’s problem,” he said last month.

His approach stands in stark contrast to that of the UK where Home Secretary Sajid Javid chose to strip Shamima Begum of her citizenship.