HomeTravelTravel ban for Tori Towey in Dubai lifted, says Taoiseach

Travel ban for Tori Towey in Dubai lifted, says Taoiseach

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Taoiseach Simon Harris has told the Dáil that the travel ban on Tori Towey – the Irish woman who is facing criminal charges in Dubai – has been lifted.

The embassy will take her to the airport as soon as she is ready to go, he said.

Mr Harris read the update “which I’ve just received in real time” in the Dáil chamber.

“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.”

Ms Towey’s case was raised in the Dáil yesterday by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who said the 28-year-old could not leave Dubai after she was attacked in her home and faced charges of attempted suicide and alcohol consumption.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said Ms Towey and her mother would “hopefully” be leaving Dubai “as quickly as possible” and that arrangements are being made for them to return to Ireland.

In a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs this afternoon, Mr Martin said: “I warmly welcome the news that Tori Towey is now free to return to Ireland.

“I hope she will be able to do so as soon as possible. This is an outcome that Ambassador Alison Milton, officials, and our Embassy in UAE have been working on for the last while.

“We are glad for Tori and her family, and we wish her all the very best in the future.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, he said the experience has been “challenging” for Ms Towey.

“It has been very traumatic and very difficult. Different jurisdictions have different norms and different approaches, which sometimes don’t approximate to ours,” he said.

“But we work with the authorities in such situations and we work to try and resolve issues of this kind. That’s the importance of very strong diplomats on the ground.”

Mr Harris earlier described Ms Towey’s case as distressing, adding that she was an Irish woman who has been a victim of horrific male violence.

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Read more: Relatives of Tori Towey welcome lifting of travel ban


Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, he said that Ms Towey was the victim of a brutal attack, and the Government wants her back home, adding that this must happen with urgency.

“I’ve spoken to our ambassador in the region…and the ambassador has been in frequent contact with the ministry of foreign affairs there,” he said, adding that “no effort will be spared,” to get her home.

He said that Ms Towey, who is from Co Roscommon, must be allowed return to Ireland without delay as “she is not a criminal but a victim of gender-based violence”.

Ms McDonald said Ms Towey has been held captive by her abuser in Dubai and that he tried to strangle her on 28 June.

When Ms Towey woke up, the Sinn Féin leader said, she was in a police station and she was charged with attempted suicide.

This afternoon the Sinn Féin leader welcomed the lifting of Ms Towey’s travel ban.

Ms McDonald raised the case in the Dáil yesterday and again today. She also spoke to Tori and her mother Caroline this morning.

She described the approach of the authorities in Dubai to domestic violence as “grotesque and medieval.”

Earlier this morning, an aunt of Ms Towey has said the family “cannot wait” to get her home.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ann Flynn, the sister of Ms Towey’s mother, said: “It’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman who was full of life and full of adventure, and loved travelling.”

Ms Flynn said she has been in touch with her sister and niece several times a day since the case arose.

“They’re both trying to keep positive, we’re trying to keep positive as well, but it’s on your mind constantly and I’m sure it’s on their minds … it’s so far away.”

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‘Desperate to come home’

A human rights activist with the group Detained in Dubai said Ms Towey is “desperate to come home”.

Speaking on the same programme, Radha Stirling said she had validated the charges Ms Towey is facing with the Department of Public Prosecutions in Dubai.

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“So, there’s been no differences to the charges . . . which is very bizarre since they allegedly decriminalised attempted suicide in the past couple of years.”

She said the UAE has also promoted that it has decriminalised alcohol consumption, “so, it’s quite surprising that they would proceed to charge…take her to court knowing that she obviously needs help, needs to just go home with her family.”

Ms Stirling said Ms Towey and her mother have been “really, really warmed at the Irish community, at the Irish Government” and “everyone rallying behind them and 100% supporting them.”

Ms Towey has lived in Dubai since last year after she got a job with Emirates Airlines.

Ms Stirling said: “I think when it comes to a case like this, it’s all about diplomacy. Without the support of the Irish Government, she would be likely to face prison and charges and deportation.”

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