A high-level security plan to monitor the activities of former Irish soldier Lisa Smith is being drafted by specialist detectives.
mith was found guilty last week of membership of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS). The Dundalk woman was acquitted of a second charge of attempting to finance terrorism by trying to send €800 to a known terrorist.
The Special Detective Unit (SDU) — the national garda group tasked with monitoring terrorist activity in Ireland — is formulating the plan to monitor Smith. It is understood the National Surveillance Unit (NSU) will be crucial to the operation.
A source said: “Lisa Smith is now a convicted member of IS, so a garda plan is being accordingly put in place to monitor her activities, regardless of whether she is jailed or not. There are very few people in Ireland who are convicted members of IS.
“Any person considered a terrorism threat is subject to varying levels of surveillance and monitoring following an individual assessment. This is now being carried out in relation to Lisa Smith.”
Last Monday, following her conviction, Smith was released on continuing bail until sentencing next month. The verdicts were delivered by Mr Justice Tony Hunt at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin following a nine-week trial.
It was the prosecution’s case that Smith (40) emigrated to IS territory in 2015 to support the terror group after it established a caliphate and claimed religious, political and military authority over Muslims worldwide.
She said she followed a religious obligation and denied aiding IS.
In relation to the membership charge, Mr Justice Hunt said conduct compelled by religious interpretation or belief pertaining to alleged membership cannot be justified or validated by conduct that would otherwise be unlawful.
The court said Smith’s interest in a particular interpretation of Islam was her choice and not due to any other influence in Ireland.
Evidence had been given of her online communications with IS members and affiliates before she travelled to Syria. This included messages about the Tunisian terror attack in 2015. Under a post of an article, Smith wrote, “Can’t wait to hear the full story. Tourism bye bye hhh”, which the court took to mean “Hahaha”.
The judge said membership is not established through “fighting talk” or holding opinions. He said she did, however, travel to Syria in 2015, having conducted extensive research on “what and who awaited her”.
Smith, the court said, “knew full well” the techniques and views of those who enforced Sharia law where she wanted to live. It was a group involved in the “most extreme and terrifying acts of violence” and left no room for pleas of naivety or ignorance.
It found she “expressly” gave allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his caliphate and took up membership of IS when she crossed the border into Syria in 2015.