Irish ISIS bride Lisa Smith and her child are the Irish government's "responsibility" according to Tanaiste Simon Coveney.
The Irish Times reports that Ireland’s Tanaiste Simon Coveney said Lisa Smith’s case was “unusual” but that the Irish government has a “responsibility” to Smith and her child.
On Monday, Tanaiste Simon Coveney said several branches of the Irish government were coordinating to figure out how to assist Smith.
Speaking in Co Cork, Tanaiste Coveney said: “We have a responsibility towards her and, in particular, her daughter. We will try to follow through on that responsibility and find a way to bring her home. Part of the problem here is that this is a war zone or at least a former war zone and it is not that easy to actually get into these places.”
“We have not had direct contact from her. She has in the past contacted her family. We are staying in close contact with her family and keeping them informed. I spoke to her brother and have given her family a commitment that we would keep them informed at all times and we will.”
Smith's family has been in touch with her, and in February she reached out for money in hopes of getting to Turkey, says the Irish Independent.
Coveney went on to say Smith's case was complicated: "We deal with a lot of complicated consular cases all over the world."
"Sometimes it is victims, sometimes it is people who have gotten into trouble but this is a particularly unusual case because it involves a young child and a mother, both of them Irish citizens.”
“They are in a war zone, in a camp that was linked to partners and children of ISIL fighters - (operated and controlled) largely by Kurds so it is more complicated than most consular cases would be, to put it mildly.”
“But, that being said, we do have a responsibility here as a State both to her and, in particular, we have a duty of care, I would say, to a two-year-old Irish girl who happens to be in a very vulnerable situation and we are taking that seriously.”
Separately, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said: “Going to Syria or going to live in what was called Islamic State is not in itself an offense or a crime, so we will need to carry out an investigation.”
“I know the authorities there will want to interrogate her to see if she has been involved in any crimes there. But it’s very possible she wasn’t a combatant.”
Lisa Smith, the Irish ISIS bride
Lisa Smith recently appeared in two interviews, one with ITV and one with CNN. In both, she declined to give her name, but Irish media sources were able to identify her as the 37-year-old Dundalk native who previously worked in the Irish Defence Forces and the Irish Air Corps.
The Co Louth native reportedly left Ireland for Syria in 2015 after converting to Islam.
Speaking with CNN this month, Smith said: “I want to go home.”
“I know they’d strip me of my passport and I wouldn’t travel, and I'd be watched kinda, but prison? I don't know. I’m already in prison," she said about potentially returning to Ireland.
"All the people here are not terrorists," said Smith.
ISIS: Stranded and rejected westerners
“Even if they put me in prison at home, it’s better than being here.” CNN gets rare access to Syrian camps where more than 1,000 foreign fighters remain stranded as their home countries seem reluctant to take them back.Publiée par CNN Connect the World sur Dimanche 24 mars 2019
Smith was reportedly recognized by Irish media after speaking with ITV, despite her claiming to be British: