Lisa Smith says she probably won't be coming back to Ireland; Taoiseach responds

Lisa Smith says she probably won't be coming back to Ireland; Taoiseach responds
Lisa Smith. Picture: ITV

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Vivienne Clarke and Joel Slattery

The former member of the Defence Forces who travelled to an Islamic State controlled area, but now wants to return home says she does not think she will come back to Ireland.

Lisa Smith, who says she flew on the government jet alongside political leaders such as Bertie Ahern, Mary Mary McAleese and Micheál Martin, is currently in the Ain Issa refugee camp.

In an interview with RTÉ News, she admitted she doesn't think she will return home:

"To be honest I don't think I will be going back, ever," she told journalist Norma Costello

When asked if she felt the Irish Government - and the Irish people - would believe that she didn't fight for the so-called Islamic State, she replied:

I don't know if they will believe it or not but it's the truth.

"But I'm telling you for myself, I didn't fight.

She did admit that there are people in the Islamic State who have "extreme views".

"There are other people here with really extreme and radical views. I don't even want to communicate with these people," she insisted.

"I just came here and now it didn't work out. The Islamic State failed because of everything they have done."

Update: 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 RTE 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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