Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said the Government will try to find a way to bring former Defence Forces member Lisa Smith and her child home from the Middle East.

Ms Smith, who served in the Air Corps and carried out duties on the government jet, is said to have travelled to Syria around three years ago.

A woman who is believed to be the former Defence Forces member has told a US reporter: "I want to go home." However, the woman did not confirm that she was Ms Smith.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs has said they believe that Ms Smith is being held in a camp in Syria.  

They said Ms Smith, who has a two-year-old daughter, is the only former member of the Defence Forces who is known by the Government to be in this area.

The woman, who was interviewed in a Syrian camp containing suspected fighters from the so-called Islamic State, told CNN reporter Jomana Karadsheh Scott‏ that she is Irish and wants to return to Ireland.

In the interview she said: "I think the people should just realise that all the people here are not terrorists. I want to go home."

When asked if she was worried she might be prosecuted and sent to prison if she returned home, the woman said: "I know they'd strip me of my passport, and I wouldn't travel and I'd be watched, but prison? I don't know. I'm already in prison."

Ms Karadsheh Scott said the woman approached her producer and told him that she was from Ireland and "quite famous back home".

Mr Coveney said Ms Smith's case is considered a consular case and "like all Irish people we want to look after them and bring them home if they want to come home".


Speaking in Cork, he said: "This is a particularly unusual case as it involves a young child, and a mother, both of them Irish citizens in a warzone, in a camp that was linked to some partners and children of ISIS fighters, controlled largely by Kurds, and so it is more complicated than most consular cases would be, to put it mildly, but we do have a responsibility here as a State."

The Departments of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Justice are to meet later today to draw up a plan as to how they can assist the woman.

Mr Coveney said there is heightened concern because there is a two-year-old child involved.

He said this is an unusual case but both he and the Taoiseach have made it clear they are the responsibility of Ireland.

"We have a responsibility towards her and, in particular her daughter, and we will try to follow through on this responsibility and find a way to bring her home," Mr Coveney said.

"Part of the problem here is that this is a former warzone and it isn't easy to access. She also doesn't have the capacity to communicate easily from where she is and we haven't had direct contact with her.

"She has in the past contacted her family. We are in close contact with her family and keeping them informed."

Ms Karadsheh Scott said she asked the woman if she had been a member of the Irish Defence Forces as reported in the media and the woman said she was, but did not give her name.

The journalist said the woman has a two-year-old daughter who was born in the camp and is anxious to get back home.

Gardaí have said they are aware of a female member of the Defence Forces who became radicalised and travelled to Syria.

Ms Smith joined the Defence Forces when she was 19 and served as a private with the 27th Battallion at Aiken Barracks in Dundalk.

She transferred to the Air Corps, where she worked on the government jet and served government ministers, former President Mary McAleese and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a meeting between three Government Departments to discuss the case of an Irish woman and her child detained in Syria, has taken place.

The meeting was held this afternoon by officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Justice as part of ongoing work.

"We are aware of the reports of an Irish citizen in Syria but will be making no more public comment at this time," the spokesperson said.