Republic of Ireland news

IS bride Lisa Smith denies training girls to become fighters

Lisa Smith (37), originally from Co Louth and a former member of the Irish Defence Forces, is living in a refugee camp in Syria

A FORMER Irish soldier who went to live in Islamic State-controlled Syria should be allowed home, a minister has said.

Lisa Smith, a 37-year-old from Co Louth, has previously spoken of her desire to return to Ireland with her two-year-old daughter.

In March, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a "security assessment" would be carried out to make sure she was not a threat.

Now, Minister for Employment and Social Affairs Regina Doherty said Ms Smith should be allowed to return.

"If there are difficulties - I know there are concerns from some people that she may pose a security risk, but surely we can do a security assessment and deal with that," she said.

"She is a young woman with a small baby who feels very isolated and lonely where she is and I think she deserves consular assistance."

In an interview with BBC Radio, Ms Smith denied ever picking up a gun and said she was not allowed to fight for Isis. She also denied training young girls to fight.

She added that she was not radicalised or "out to kill anyone" and had no intentions of hurting anyone in Ireland. However, she acknowledged there was a lot of brutality within IS.

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