Ireland will exercise its right to expel any suspected jihadists, even if the evidence against them would not be enough to support a criminal prosecution, according to Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald.
Ms Fitzgerald said she would “make no apology” for deporting individuals suspected of supporting Islamic extremism.
The TD was speaking to the Irish Independent. She said: “We are talking about a limited number of people. I am briefed about the situation all the time.
“We know we are not on the front line. The threat is not as acute as other countries that we have seen.
“We are not under a severe threat here. It is possible, but not likely. But you can’t be complacent. You have the lone wolf. This is always a possibility as well.
“I would be confident about the gardaí’s work on the intelligence side in relation to the small numbers.”
The comments come less than a fortnight after a 52-year-old man was deported to Jordan because he was suspected of being a “senior Isil operative” who had arranged for others to travel and fight in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The man was deported to Jordan despite claiming he had previously been tortured by security services there.
The man mounted a legal challenge to his deportation, but the High Court ruled that he had failed to demonstrate he was at risk of torture in Jordan or that the minister’s decision-making had been unreasonable.
The decision drew criticism from Amnesty International, who questioned why the man was deported rather than been charged and given a fair trial in Ireland.
Ms Fitzgerald would not comment on the case individually, but did say: “Obviously in appropriate cases you will have prosecutions and you will go the criminal route. Other times you have to take actions to protect the State.
“If that means following a certain line that ends up with somebody not being in the country, and I am not referencing that case, then that is the appropriate way to go.
“A State has its right to protect its citizens and defend itself and if there are appropriate actions that we can take that result in people being safe we have to do it.”
Ms Fitzgerald went on to speak about the importance of not isolating Muslim communities in Ireland. She said: “We need to be building the links whether it is with the mosques or with the families.
“The only way you will deal with that is by prevention at this stage, by the right kind of youth facilities, programmes, information and education.
“It is an area I am going to put more funding into to make sure we are doing the preventative work.”