The Taoiseach has said he is ready to intervene in the case of Irish woman Tori Towey who is facing criminal charges and has been banned from leaving Dubai in what he called “the most appalling circumstances”.

Tori Towey (28) suffered severe bruising and other injuries that required hospital treatment after she was allegedly attacked in her home, according to Detained in Dubai.

The advocacy group has urged the Irish Government to intervene to have the charges against her dropped and allow her to travel home.

Ms Towey, who is from Boyle in Co Roscommon, is now facing charges “of attempted suicide and the abuse of alcohol,” the Dáil heard today, and is desperate to come home.

Local Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane, who knows the family, told the Irish Independent:

“I spoke to Tori and her mother earlier today, along with my party leader Mary Lou McDonald.

“Tori is in a living nightmare. She must be allowed to return home urgently.

“This young woman has been treated in the most horrific way and simply wants to go home.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil that Ms Towey had been the victim of domestic violence and is subject to a travel ban over alleged charges as she urged the Taoiseach to intervene.

Radha Stirling, CEO of advocacy group Detained in Dubai, described the case and the travel ban against Ms Towey as “outrageous”.

“Tori’s experience is nothing short of tragic and quite frankly, she is lucky to be alive”, added Stirling, who has helped in numerous domestic violence cases including that of Dubai’s Princess Latifa.

Tori Towey

“The UAE used to charge rape victims with sex outside marriage. Now they’re charging domestic violence victims with attempted suicide and alcohol consumption.

“We are calling on Dubai authorities to urgently drop the charges against Tori, remove the travel ban and let her fly home to Ireland with her mother.

“We are also calling on Ireland’s prime minister Simon Harris, the head of Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Ambassador Alison Milton and local TDs Michael Fitzmaurice, Claire Kerrane and Denis Naughten as well as the UAE’s Ambassador to Ireland, HE Mohammed Hmoud Hamad Rahma Alshamsi to help bring Tori home.”

Tori Towey

While speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Ms Stirling has confirmed Ms Towey is currently living in an Airbnb.

“Right now, she’s just happy to be with her mother in safety, because this is all very recent, but she is able to leave the apartment and move freely within the country,” she said.

Ms Towey would like Taoiseach Simon Harris to speak to Ireland’s counterparts in the UAE.

“Just simply say: ‘We can’t have this. This is obviously an error on behalf of the Dubai police. This never should have been charged or prosecuted’.

“And they need to be trained on victim care more than anything, and hopefully the Government of Dubai will see that these charges shouldn’t happen and they need to protect women.

“It’s terrible PR for the country. You’re going to have people worried to go there in the future. And of course, this is on the back of historically charging rape victims with sex outside marriage so they don’t have the best reputation to start with. They’ve been trying to improve it.

“So I think there’ll be agreeable with the Irish government if there’s enough diplomatic pressure put on them, letting them know that we absolutely want Tori home and there’s just going to be no negotiation on that,” she added.

Tori Towey is due to appear in court next week.

“In a best-case scenario, they will simply say: ‘We’re not going to proceed beyond this hearing- and we’re going to let you go’.

“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.

“With the support of the Irish government and diplomacy and there has been a lot – various members of the Irish government have contacted UAE ambassador to Ireland, and of course, Ireland’s ambassador in the UAE, and they’re trying to get those diplomatic talks happening.

“If that happens, that is the best and fastest way to get her home,” Ms Stirling added.

The 28-year-old Emirates Airlines cabin crew employee, now faces lengthy imprisonment in jails that are notorious for human rights abuses and torture, according to Detained in Dubai.

Ms Towey moved to Dubai in April 2023 for a job with Emirates.

The airline gave her time off work to recover after she suffered the injuries at her home, according to the human rights group.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil she said she had spoken to Ms Towey and that her mother had travelled to Dubai to be with her.

“Tori wants to come home, simple as that. She is a Roscommon woman and she wants to come home,” she said.

“I am asking now, as a matter of absolute urgency, that we have a statement from this House, that you intervene Taoiseach, that the ambassador is called and that it is made absolutely plain to the authorities of Dubai that no woman should be treated in this way, and an Irish citizen, an Irish woman will not be treated in this way.”

Mr Harris responded saying he was not aware of Ms Towey’s case, and thanked Ms McDonald for bringing it to his attention and that of the Foreign Minister Micheál Martin.

He pledged to work “to intervene and see how we can support an Irish citizen in what sounds to be, based on what you tell me, the most appalling circumstances”.

Photo: Tori Towey

Local Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane, who knows Ms Towey’s family, said the flight attendant was in a “living nightmare”.

“I am determined to work with the ambassador, Foreign Affairs Minister and anyone necessary to ensure that her release is secured without delay,” she told the Irish Independent.

According to Detained in Dubai, Ms Towey found out there was a travel ban against her when replacing her passport, but wasn’t sure why.

She arranged to fly home to Ireland but when she arrived at the airport, was told a case against her had been dropped but that the travel ban remained.

“She attended the police station who assured her the travel ban would be lifted but it never happened. She was stuck,” said Ms Stirling.

Tori was told nothing could be done and that the cases against her were going to court on July 18, according to Detained in Dubai.

“The UAE has gone to great public relations efforts to promote alcohol as legal in the country. In reality, people are still regularly charged with alcohol consumption and possession,” added Stirling.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it is aware of Ms Towey’s situation.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance.

“As with all consular cases, the department does not comment on the details of individual cases.”