Ex-soldier pleads to return to Ireland with daughter, two, after stint in Syria

A former Irish soldier who went to live in Islamic State-controlled Syria has reportedly denied fighting for the jihadist militants.

Lisa Smith, a 37-year-old originally from Co Louth, is currently living in a refugee camp in Syria.

In an interview with The Mail On Sunday, she spoke of her desire to return to Ireland with her two-year-old daughter, whom she claims was born to a British father while living in IS territory, a man she says died in the last three months.

“For me, I want to go back to my country,” the former member of the Defence Forces told the newspaper.

“She’s (daughter) my number one priority now that’s why I want to leave and take her home with me and get her educated.

“People here are not educated.”

In the interview with the newspaper, she added: “The only thing for me what I can do anyway is just live my life the way I live it, in my own home, with my daughter, and bring my daughter up.

“I don’t want to cause problems for anyone, I don’t want to mix, I’m still me, I’m still like a good neighbour, I’m still a good friend, I’m just still me.

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

“I’m not, like, out to kill anyone, I don’t believe in suicide attacks.”

According to the newspaper report, when asked whether she fought for Isis, Ms Smith said: “No, I didn’t do anything.”

She reportedly added: “I didn’t even own a gun.

“My husband many times said to me, ‘you want me to buy you one?’ I said no.

“He said ‘it’s just for self-defence’ or, I said: ‘I don’t want, I don’t want’.

“I think anyone that knows me, you know in the army or outside the army or anywhere in my life, will know that, they know me, that I wouldn’t pick up the weapon and fight and stuff like that.

“I didn’t do it, I didn’t own a rifle, I didn’t teach them anything.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has already indicated that Ms Smith would be permitted to return to Ireland if she wished.

But he has said a security assessment would have to be carried to make sure she is not a threat to anyone in Ireland.

Asked if she should face investigation in Ireland, Ms Smith told The Mail On Sunday: “I don’t think I should be tried.

“If they want to put an investigation on me, I have nothing to hide.

“The only thing I did was come here and, if that’s my crime, like a lot of other people’s, for coming here and realising I made a mistake.”