Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address concerns that Irish passport holders who travelled to engage in combat or support for the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, will be permitted to return to the State; if he has raised security concerns regarding such proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10392/19]
226. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will revoke the citizenship of Irish passport holders or citizens who engaged in combat or other support for so-called Islamic State or Daesh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10393/19]
243. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his position in relation to the citizenship of Irish citizens who are members of ISIS and subsequently wish to return; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10845/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 225, 226 and 243 together.
Protecting the State and the people from terrorism and supporting international peace and security are among the highest priorities for the Government. Ireland, like many other open and democratic states, faces a threat from international terrorism.
The expert assessment of the terrorist threat to Ireland is that, while an attack is possible, it is not considered likely. The authorities here remain nonetheless very vigilant and the level of threat is kept under constant and active review by An Garda Síochána. The Garda Authorities supported by the Defence Forces have in place robust response and prevention capabilities and the authorities here work continually with their international counterparts to identify and manage threats.
Deputies will appreciate that among the issues facing states is the question of suspected foreign terrorist fighters. The shared challenges arising have been a consistent focus of discussion with my EU colleagues at meetings of Justice and Interior Ministers. The return to states in the EU of persons who are suspected of having been active in conflict in Iraq or Syria or residing in conflict areas presents complex challenges, including questions of public protection, the prosecution of offences, the protection of citizens’ rights, particularly the rights of non-combatants, and de-radicalisation, none of which matters lend themselves to easy resolution.
While it would not be appropriate to comment on the detail of the security arrangements in place or, indeed, individual cases, I can assure the House that all measures necessary and consistent with the law will be taken to protect the State and the people from harm and to vindicate the rights of individuals.
With regard to the specific question of citizenship, it is clear that the State and all citizens are both bound by the rights and obligations that accompany citizenship. These matters are considered on their merits on a case by case basis but the House will understand that this area of the law is governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956 to 2004 which set out in detail the arrangements in place in this regard, including in respect of the revocation of certificates of naturalisation where that may be considered necessary in individual cases.