Coveney dismisses reports of return for Lisa Smith and child
Tánaiste stresses Government’s primary focus is on welfare of Smith’s two-year-old child
Smith comes from Dundalk, Co Louth, and converted to Islam several years ago.
Mr Coveney said the operation to bring Ms Smith back to Ireland from Turkey is complex with no repatriation deadline being set. The Islamic State, also known as Isis, supporter is a former member of the Defence Forces,
Asked about the possibility of her returning on Tuesday, Mr Coveney replied: “I don’t know who has given that information . . . she is not coming home tomorrow.”
Ms Smith comes from Dundalk, Co Louth, and converted to Islam several years ago. She then travelled to Syria to join Islamic State and while there she married and had a child with an Islamic State fighter who was later killed in the conflict.
Following the collapse of the Islamic State earlier this year, Ms Smith was detained in refugee camps run by Kurdish forces but she escaped from a camp in October following the Turkish invasion and made her way north.
She was later picked up by a Turkish-backed militia who handed her over to Turkey and has been held there for the last few weeks, prompting efforts by the Department of Foreign Affairs to seek her repatriation.
Concern for daughter
A team of Irish officials from the department, supported by members of the Army Ranger Wing, were deployed to Turkey in recent weeks to assist in securing her return to Ireland.
On Monday Mr Coveney stressed that the government’s primary concern was the welfare of Ms Smith’s two-year-old child who is an Irish citizen and, as such, entitled to all the protections that the Ireland can provide.
“I have said for months I am really concerned about her daughter who is a two-year-old Irish citizen. Lisa herself is also a consular case – she has asked for help to come home and we have been following through on that for some time.
“There are obvious complications with this case given Lisa Smith’s connections and activity for the last number of years. And we need to deal with that appropriately, which we will do.