Ireland’s Department of Justice has confirmed that up to 40 people have left the country for North Africa and the Middle East since December 2010. At least three people have died.

Since October, up to 15 people have traveled from Ireland to conflict zones where the Islamic State in active.

“While some of these people travelled for family or humanitarian reasons, some travelled to participate in conflict and three are known to have lost their lives,” a spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

“The potential threat from international terrorism and foreign fighters is a matter of shared concern at EU level and the Garda authorities work closely with their international counterparts in addressing it.

“An Garda Síochána keeps the level of threat from international terrorism under continuous review in light of ongoing developments and continues to take all appropriate measures to counteract the threat.”

The numbers coincide with earlier reports. An ISIS expert called Abu Omar told Newstalk radio earlier this year that  Irish fighters were valued as snipers.

“All the countries around the earth, the Western countries, have fighters with ISIS inside Syria now. There was some of UK people, Irish, French… the Irish fighters are perfect snipers. Every place they need snipers they move the Irish there.

“But the Irish fighters they number around 40.

“They know them from them names as Abu Omar er Irlandie, Irish, Abu Omar Irish.

“They walk in with the British every time, and they see them together.”

A top Muslim leader has warned that ISIS is recruiting young Irish people to their cause.Irish Independent