The travel ban on Tori Towey has been lifted in Dubai, the Taoiseach told the Dáil this afternoon.

Simon Harris interrupted questions to update the House, saying in addition: “The embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go.”

It is understood she could be home in Ireland as soon as tomorrow.

“The Embassy of course will continue to follow up on the case, which is still active as of now. But I just wanted to inform the House of that news,” he said.

Ms Towey (28) is facing criminal charges and had been banned from leaving Dubai. She suffered severe bruising and other injuries that required hospital treatment after she was allegedly attacked in her home, according to human rights group Detained in Dubai.

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

She moved to Dubai in April 2023 for a job with Emirates and is due to appear in court next week.

Mr Harris this morning described the situation facing Irish woman Tori Towey in Dubai as “unimaginable” and said it is his priority to get Ms Towey back to her home in Ireland.

Speaking to media at Leinster House, Mr Harris said he spoke with Ms Towey and her mother Caroline this morning.

“I don’t want to say too much because there is a lot of diplomatic activity going on in the background. Tori has been through in my view the most horrific situation and it is utterly, utterly unacceptable how an Irish citizen is being treated, that is my language in terms of how I feel,” the Taoiseach said.

“Tori has been a victim of male violence and she needs to be supported. She needs to be brought back home to her home here in Ireland,” Mr Harris added.

The Taoiseach said earlier he had also spoken to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin on the situation as well as the Irish Ambassador, who the Taoiseach said has been working on Ms Towey’s case for “a period of time”.

Todays News in 90 Seconds – 10th July 2024

“I had a conversation with the Tánaiste who is also working on this matter as our Minister for Foreign Affairs.

“I have spoken to our ambassador in the region as well who have been in constant contact with her on this matter since yesterday.

“I want to acknowledge our ambassador and embassy team have been working on this case for a period of time and let me just say there is a lot of work going on in the background here,” the Taoiseach said.

Mr Harris described Ms Towey’s situation as “unimaginable” and said he will support Ms Towey in getting home.

“What Tori has been through is, I think, unimaginable for so many people. A woman who has been the victim of a brutal attack, to find herself waking up not in a hospital but in a police station,” the Taoiseach said.

“It is my absolute priority as the Taoiseach of this country to get Tori, an Irish citizen, back home to Roscommon and I will be staying in regular contact with her and her mum and supporting them,” he added.

Photo: Tori Towey

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, the aunt of Tori Towey said Tori and her mother Caroline are very nervous about the situation and the family in Roscommon are hoping they will get word they are on a plane on the way home.

“I don’t know will this court case go ahead and if it goes, what will happen?,” Tori’s aunt, Ann Flynn, said.

“You know, we’re just very hopeful.

“And it’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman that was full of life and full of adventure.

“And she loved travelling. And, you know, she’s a beautiful young woman.”

Ann said she has been in touch with the two women every day, several times a day.

She added that the pair are trying to keep positive and the family are all hoping that the charges against Tori will not go to court.

Tori Towey

“It’s on your mind constantly, and I’m sure it’s on their minds because all the family is getting in touch with them, you know?

“And, it’s so far away.

“But hopefully with Radha Stirling, the Taoiseach and all the ministers that is helping now, hopefully, we’ll hear good news.

“We’re hoping that, just something will happen that it won’t go to court.

“It’s hard to believe that this young woman has been charged with trying to commit suicide.

“It is very, very hard to believe,” Ann added.

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

CEO of advocacy group Detained in Dubai Ms Stirling confirmed this morning that 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.

She continued;

“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.

“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 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.”