PM says travel ban on Irish woman in Dubai lifted

PM says travel ban on Irish woman in Dubai lifted

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris has said that a travel ban imposed by authorities in Dubai on Irish woman Tori Towey, who has reportedly been accused of attempted suicide, has been lifted.

Tori Towey, 28, a flight attendant from Co Roscommon, was charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse after waking up in a police station following a seizure, Irish MPs were told.

Authorities in Dubai have also banned her from leaving the state, the Dail Chamber of Commerce heard.

Simon Harris speaks to media outside government buildings in Dublin
Simon Harris said it was “completely unacceptable” how an Irish citizen was treated in Dubai (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

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

Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Ireland’s main opposition party Sinn Fein, raised the issue for a second straight day in the Irish parliament on Wednesday, criticising what she called the “medieval, grotesque treatment of women” in the United Arab Emirates.

“(Tori) doesn’t belong in Dubai, she belongs in Ireland,” Ms McDonald said.

The Taoiseach thanked Ms McDonald and Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane for raising the “distressing” matter and said she had spoken to Ms Towey and her mother Caroline, who is with her in Dubai.

He said the Irish Embassy in the United Arab Emirates was in constant contact with Ms Towey.

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

“We, Ireland, will spare no effort to make progress on this issue, to bring Tori home. She is not a criminal, she is a victim of gender-based violence.”

Mr Harris said he had spoken to Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ireland’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

Her aunt Ann Flynn said they were both trying to stay positive.

“They are very nervous and can’t wait to get home,” she told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

“It’s really horrible that this happened to a young woman who was full of life and adventure and loved to travel.”

Radha Stirling, founder of the group Detained in Dubai, said the support from the Irish people and government had “really warmed them” and “given them hope and inspiration”.

She said the case will go to court next week.

The Foreign Office told the PA news agency on Wednesday it was providing “ongoing consular assistance” in the case, as was the Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

“The Irish Ambassador to the UAE is in regular contact with our citizen (including this morning). The Embassy is also in discussions with all relevant authorities in the UAE regarding the matter,” the department said.

“Officials will continue to provide advice and consular assistance.”