Prosecuting Foreign Fighters including so-called 'ISIS' fighters
Wednesday, 16 December 2015

During the Order of Business in the Seanad, I said, Iwish to ask the Leader whether anything is being done about the jihadists who are returning to Ireland after going to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. I believe there is a need to ensure there is a massive disincentive for those who live in Ireland to go abroad to fight and then take an Aer Lingus aeroplane back to Ireland. I read recently that a number of people in Cork were refused, but, to the best of my knowledge, we do not have a penalty for them. I believe it is necessary to prosecute those who try to recruit these people online...

 While I am unsure how it would be done, a massive disincentive is needed to prevent people from being coaxed to go and fight with ISIS, and a range of countries in the European Union and elsewhere have introduced legislation to do precisely that. Its specific purpose is to target returning ISIS fighters. For instance, in Italy there is an eight-to-ten-year jail sentence for those who fight in an armed group that is illegal. Could this be the framework of an anti-terrorism law?

The Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 prosecutes those who engage in terrorist activities outside the State; however, it appears as though the penalties listed in that Act must be upgraded in light of what has happened in Paris and elsewhere.

It appears to me that one could provide for a minimum of 20 years' imprisonment for those who go to fight for entities such as ISIS and then return to Ireland.

I believe it is a matter to which Members should be giving consideration and attention, and while I am unsure whether it could be done without all-party approval, I imagine it probably would have all-party approval.

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