Army won't go to Syria to bring Lisa Smith home, Leo Varadkar says

Army won't go to Syria to bring Lisa Smith home, Leo Varadkar says
Lisa Smith. Picture: ITV

The Irish army will not be flying into Syria to help Irish ISIS bride Lisa Smith return home, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar confirmed there are no plans for Irish officials to travel to the war-torn nation to help Ms Smith, despite saying he is open to her returning to Ireland because he does not want to split up a mother and young daughter.

In an interview from the Al-Hawl refugee camp, former defence force member Ms Smith again called on the Government to help her return to Ireland.

While Ms Smith insisted she has done nothing wrong, numerous people who were in the same area of Syria as her say she helped to train children how to use weapons and other matters.

Asked about the issue during an interview with RTÉ Radio's Today With Sean O'Rourke programme, Mr Varadkar repeated his view that he is open to Ms Smith returning home as her young daughter is an Irish citizen.

However, he stressed there will be no direct intervention from Ireland and that Ms Smith will face questioning from gardai and security personnel if she arrives back in this country.

I want her child to be able to come home, I would never separate a mother and child, so yes, I want her to come home.

"But there are lots of Irish citizens who get into trouble around the world, we don’t fly them home from Australia or New Zealand or Egypt as happened with Ibrahim Halawa.

"There are also security issues should she return. We don’t send out the army to bring home Irish citizens.”

Ms Smith moved to Syria, via Tunisia, in 2015 shortly after leaving the Air Corps where she worked as a flight attendant on the Government jet and as a driver to senior officers.

She had also previously served with the army as part of the 27th infantry battalion.

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