Northern Ireland

Travel ban lifted on Irish woman charged with attempting suicide and consuming alcohol in Dubai

The Roscommon woman had been detained by authorities and barred from travelling

Tori Towey
Tori Towey was working as a flight attendant in Dubai

A travel ban imposed on an Irish woman, who was reportedly charged with attempted suicide in Dubai, has been lifted, the Taoiseach has said.

Tori Towey (28) from Roscommon had been detained in Dubai following an attack, the Dáil had heard on Tuesday, with the flight attendant banned from leaving the state.

But addressing the Dáil on Wednesday, Simon Harris said: “I’ve just been informed that the travel ban has been lifted, that the embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go and that the embassy of course will continue to follow up on the case, which is still active as of now.”

He thanked the Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates for their work on the case.

The case had been raised in the Dáil earlier this week by Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, who said Ms Towey had been attacked in her home and faced charges of attempted suicide and alcohol consumption.

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald. PICTURE: BRIAN LAWESS/PA

She was taken to a police station where she was told she was being charged with the two offences, both of which are historically illegal in the UAE.

Her passport was blocked from use, and she was told she could not return to Ireland. Her mother Caroline travelled to Dubai to be with her.

Ms McDonald had called for “urgent action to ensure the safe return” of Ms Towey.

She later welcomed the news that Ms Towey is due to return home to Ireland, saying: “I think the public reaction, the public revulsion to the idea of a victim of vicious domestic violence being charged with offences herself, I think, really raised people’s hackles.

“I hope that her return home marks the end of this ordeal, of this nightmare for her. It raises fundamental questions around the treatment of women in Dubai.”

On Wednesday, the Taoiseach thanked Ms McDonald and Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane for raising the “distressing” case.

He said the Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates has been in constant contact with Ms Towey.

“We want Tori Towey back in this country, we want her back home in Roscommon,” Mr Harris said.

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Taoiseach Simon Harris

“No effort will be spared by us, by Ireland, to make progress on this matter, to get Tori home.

“She’s not a criminal, she’s a victim of gender-based violence.”

Speaking earlier on Wednesday to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Towey’s aunt Ann Flynn said Tori and and her mother, Caroline were “trying to keep positive”.

“They’re very nervous and can’t wait to get home,” she said.

“We keep hoping we’ll get word that they’re on a plane on their way home.

“It’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman that was full of life, full of adventure, she loved travelling.”