Lisa Smith allowed to travel to North ‘at her convenience’, says solicitor

Irish woman accused of joining Islamic banned from entering UK on grounds of national security since 2019

Lisa Smith arriving at Dublin District Court in 2020. She is expected to stand trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin next January. Photograph: Alan Betson

Lisa Smith arriving at Dublin District Court in 2020. She is expected to stand trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin next January. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Lisa Smith, an Irish woman accused of joining Islamic State, has won a legal battle that will allow her to travel to Northern Ireland to visit family members.

The Dundalk woman is to go on trial in Dublin next year on charges of being a member of unlawful terrorist group Islamic State, also known as Isis, and financing terrorism.

Since 2019, the mother-of-one has been banned from entering the UK, on the grounds of national security.

The decision meant Ms Smith (39) could not visit her father and other relatives who live in Belfast.

She had appealed the decision to ban her from travelling to Northern Ireland to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London.

Her case was heard on April 21st, where Ms Smith, who previously served in the Irish Army and Air Corps before travelling to Syria in 2015, argued she had close family connections to Northern Ireland.

She said since her father was born in Belfast he was entitled to be treated as a dual national, and given his dual nationality, it would be unlawful to exclude her from the jurisdiction.

In a statement on Friday, Phoenix Law, the legal firm representing Ms Smith said she had been successful in her appeal.

The firm said the SIAC had ruled the decision to exclude the Dundalk woman from travelling to Northern Ireland had been discriminatory.

Darragh Mackin, her solicitor, said the ruling was “hugely significant for the upholding of basic human rights principles, which include the right to be free from discrimination”.

“The decision to exclude our client was discriminatory and contrary to the basic principles underpinning the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

“As an Irish citizen who resides in a border town, it was always asserted that to restrict her from travelling across the border was unlawful and could not be stood over,” Mr Mackin said.

“We warmly welcome the Court’s determination today which will now reinstate our client’s basic rights to travel to the North of Ireland at her convenience,” he said.

Ms Smith is expected to stand trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin on January 11th, 2022.

She is charged with an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) which carries a possible 10-year sentence, alleging she was a member of Islamic State from 2015 to 2019.

She is also charged with financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.