A former Irish Defense Forces member who had traveled to Syria and was accused of membership in the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group has won an appeal against a UK entry ban.
Lisa Smith, 39, had been the subject of a UK Home Office-issued exclusion order, which was made on the grounds of public security, since December 2019.
Smith, from County Louth, denies the charges of membership in Daesh and funding terrorism and is currently on bail expecting her scheduled trial at the Special Criminal Court next January.
The fact that Smith’s father is originally from Belfast has cast doubt on whether she was an exception for the exclusion order.
Both parties in the case before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), sitting in London, accepted that the UK had a legitimate right to exclude non-British citizens from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Ireland.
However, in the case of Smith, as a consequence of her father’s birthplace, she was considered a dual national, and her lawyer, Darragh Mackin, argued that the UK law does not apply to those of dual nationality.
The defense also argued that according to the nationality rights conferred under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the law treats married and unmarried parents in a different way, given the fact that Smith’s father was not married to her mother when she was born.
Her legal team stressed that since she is entitled to hold a UK passport, she should be allowed to travel freely within the country, including in Northern Ireland.
In a written judgment on Friday, the SIAC allowed Smith’s appeal against the exclusion order.
Welcoming the Appeal Commission’s decision, Mackin said, “Today’s ruling is hugely significant for the upholding of basic human rights principles, which include the right to be free from discrimination.”
He stressed that the UK decision to exclude Smith from entering the country was “discriminatory and contrary to the basic principles underpinning the Good Friday Agreement.”