Former taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Bertie Ahern remembers Lisa Smith as a “lovely lady”, who loved her job.
The 38-year-old, who has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences, was a soldier who worked on the Irish government jet.
She accompanied Mr Ahern and former president Mary McAleese on flights.
Originally from Dundalk in County Louth, Lisa Smith joined the Irish army and air corps after leaving school in 2000.
Eight years ago, in an interview with the Irish Independent newspaper, she described herself as a former party girl who drank too much on occasion, smoked cannabis and took ecstasy.
Her life had been turned around by converting to Islam, she said.
She married, but the marriage quickly broke down. It is understood she travelled to Syria in 2015, married a British fighter and had a baby daughter.
More recently, Ms Smith was living in a Kurdish-controlled refugee camp in Syria.
In an interview with the BBC recorded at the camp, she said she was not involved in fighting and denied training girls in the use of weapons.
She was deported from Turkey on Sunday morning.
It is understood Irish government officials and members of the elite Irish Army Ranger Wing had been in Turkey for some weeks preparing for her return.
On Sunday, Ms Smith and her baby daughter arrived at Dublin Airport accompanied on a Turkish Airlines flight.
They were covered in a pink blanket and transferred to a waiting vehicle.
Gardaí (Irish police) say her child is being cared for by relatives.
Ms Smith is being questioned on suspicion of terrorist offences at Kevin Street Garda Station in Dublin.
Detectives have been interviewing her under caution about her activities, movements, communications and contacts online and in person in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Ireland since she converted to Islam, RTE reported.