Lisa Smith fights exclusion from the UK 

Co Louth woman, charged with membership of the Islamic State, is appealing British Home Office regulations barring her from the UK on grounds her father is from Belfast
Lisa Smith fights exclusion from the UK 

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission in London heard on Wednesday that Lisa Smith cannot be excluded from the UK as her father is from Belfast, making her a dual British-Irish citizen due to her father's British citizenship. File Picture: PA

An Irish woman charged with membership of the Islamic State is fighting her exclusion from the UK.

Former Irish Defence Forces member Lisa Smith from Co Louth has been barred from the UK by the British home secretary under regulations that allow for the exclusion of EEA nationals on the grounds of "public policy, public security or public health... prohibiting that person from entering the United Kingdom". It is linked to the charges she faces on Isis membership and funding terrorism.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission in London heard on Wednesday that Lisa Smith cannot be excluded from the UK as her father is from Belfast, making her a dual British-Irish citizen due to her father's British citizenship. 

The commission was told her exclusion from the UK, notably Northern Ireland, is affecting her life negatively and preventing her seeing her family.

"The appellant lives close to the border with the United Kingdom ," the legal argument, seen by the Irish Examiner, reads. "As a consequence, her ability to move across the border is part of her social identity."

Parents were not married

Her father moved from the North to the Republic, where Ms Smith was born in 1982. The British Home Office argues that because her parents were not married when she was born – they are still not married – she is not a British national.

Hugh Southey QC, arguing on behalf of Ms Smith, noted there is no power under these regulations to exclude a British citizen (including dual nationals) from the United Kingdom.

"Had [Smith's] parents been married at the time of her birth, she would have been granted British citizenship automatically," he said.

"[Smith's] liability to be excluded from the United Kingdom is therefore based solely on the accident of birth outside wedlock for which [she] is not responsible.

"[Smith] is liable to be excluded due to her birth status, whereas those in precisely the same circumstances but whose parents were married are not. As a consequence, there is clearly a difference in treatment."

Precedent

Ms Smith's legal team argued there was precedent already set by British courts that citizenship rights cannot be judged on the basis of so-called legitimacy and "there is no justification for the stark differential and less favourable treatment, based solely on an accident of birth for which she is not responsible".

The hearing lasted one day and is due to return a verdict in a number of weeks. Ms Smith's trial date for terrorism charges is set for January 2022.

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