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Sunday 25 August 2019

'I do want Smith to come back', insists Leo

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he wants to see Islamic State (IS) bride Lisa Smith returned to Ireland - but added that he won't put Irish diplomats or military personnel at risk to make that happen.

Mr Varadkar was speaking after an interview by Smith in which she said she wants to come home but fears that she won't be able to.

"To be honest I don't think I will be going back - ever," she said in the interview for RTE.

''That's what I feel. That's what I think. They could be trying to make an example of me because I'm Irish and I'm military and I'm a woman."

Mr Varadkar insisted that he could not comment on any military operations that had reportedly been rejected for bringing her home when he was asked about the case on RTE Radio.

Risk

He said Smith is an Irish citizen and that he's "very conscious that there is a child involved in this".

Mr Varadkar also said she had managed to get to Syria on her own without assistance.

He pointed out that the area was a "war-zone" and said he did not want to put Irish diplomats or Defence Forces members at risk.

He also said there was a major cost associated with returning Smith back home.

He stressed that a lot of Irish people get into difficulty abroad through no fault of their own, adding: "We don't send out army aircraft to bring them home because that is very expensive. It's hundreds of thousands of euro."

He said should Smith return home "the gardai will want to talk to her".

"I definitely want her child to be able to come home," he said, but added he did not want to separate the child from her mother.

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