Islamic State supporter Lisa Smith and her two-year-old daughter arrived back in Dublin this morning.

The flight carrying the Louth woman and her child from Istanbul shortly after 10am.

A small team of Defence Forces personnel flew to Turkey on Friday tasked with accompanying Ms Smith and her daughter back to Ireland on Sunday.

She will be passed by the Defence Forces team to the gardaí shortly, it is understood. Tusla, the child and family agency, will conduct an assessment of the needs and welfare of the child.

It is expected she will then be interviewed by gardaí about her links to Isis.

The Dundalk native and former Defence Forces member had been awaiting deportation in Turkey along with other supporters of the terrorist group who were captured by Turkish forces in Syria.

Ms Smith was accompanied on the flight by a small team of Government officials and members of the elite Army Ranger Wing.

On Friday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar refused to go into detail about the operation to return Ms Smith to Ireland. He said Tusla is playing a role in the matter, along with the Garda and Defence Forces.

“It is a tricky situation. Ultimately the child is an Irish citizen and deserves to be protected in my view. Ultimately we need to protect our citizens,” Mr Varadkar told reporters at a graduation ceremony in Templemore for 197 new gardaí.

Mr Varadkar said there was a need to ensure the welfare of Ms Smith’s daughter. “Of course there are relatives that are in contact and Tusla are aware that situation may arise.”

Ms Smith is also an Irish citizen and has the right to return home should she wish, the Taoiseach added.

It is understood the Dundalk woman’s family members have expressed a willingness to care for her child in the event of her possible detention upon arrival in Ireland. However, any final decision would rest with Tusla.

Ms Smith had said in media interviews that she wished to return home. Mr Varadkar had previously said that a security assessment would need to be carried out to ensure that Smith “does not become a threat to life and limb in Ireland.”

The Irish Government has said for months that it has a responsibility to find a way to bring Ms Smith back to Ireland after she became aligned to the militant group in Syria and that its main concern was for the safe repatriation of her daughter.

Turkey says it has captured 287 militants in northeast Syria, where Turkish troops launched an offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia last month, and has hundreds more jihadist suspects in detention.

It began deporting foreign citizens linked to Islamic State earlier this month and Ireland confirmed shortly afterwards that Ms Smith and her daughter were the two Irish citizens identified by Ankara for deportation.

Turkey has accused its European allies of being too slow to take back their citizens who had travelled to the Middle East to join Islamic State.

Meanwhile, European countries are trying to speed up a plan to move thousands of jihadists out of Syrian prisons and into Iraq.



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