Video: Lisa Smith trial to go ahead, Russian military exercises 'not welcome'

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Lisa Smith trial

The trial of Lisa Smith, a former Defence Forces member accused of membership of Islamic State, will go ahead after the Special Criminal Court rejected an application to have the charges against her dismissed.

Following hearings last week in which Ms Smith's lawyers argued there was insufficient evidence to put her on trial, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding in the three-judge, non-jury court, delivered his judgement on Monday.

Ms Smith (39), from Dundalk, Co Louth is charged with an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 for being a member of unlawful terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019.

She is also charged under the same legislation for financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

Russian military exercises 'not welcome'

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The Minister for Foreign Affairs has said that plans by Russia to hold navy military exercises off the coast of Ireland are “not welcome”.

The artillery drills at the start of February will take place in international waters, but within Irish controlled airspace and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Simon Coveney said the exercises are to take place 240 kilometres (150 miles) off the Irish south-west coast.

Mr Coveney said Ireland does not have the powers to prevent it from happening.

Mr Coveney is in Brussels on Monday for a scheduled meeting with other EU foreign ministers at which the ongoing tensions on the Russia/Ukraine border are being discussed.

Rise in domestic abuse incidents reported by Gardaí

Gardaí responded to 48,400 domestic abuse incidents last year, an increase of 10 per cent on 2020.

Charges brought by the Garda for domestic abuse crimes also increased in 2021.

There were 4,250 criminal charges for breaches of Domestic Violence Act Orders in 2021 – a 6 per cent increase on 2020.

Gardaí said there were also 8,600 charges for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse in 2021, up 13 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The figures have been published as part of an update on the work of Operation Faoiseamh.

Economic boost expected

The Irish economy is expected to take off, with record spending predicted as restrictions ease.

However, a likely rebound in spending comes amid forecasts of further price inflation.

This comes as recent figures show consumer prices rose by 5.5 per cent in the year to December 2021, marking the largest annual change in prices in two decades according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The rise in average prices between December 2020 and December 2021 was the largest annual change since a rise of 5.6 per cent was seen in April 2001.

The most notable change in prices was an 18 per cent increase in the cost of transport, along with an 11.8 per cent rise in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel costs.

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