Taoiseach Ready To 'Intervene' As Irish Woman Faces Charges In Dubai

Taoiseach Simon Harris has said that he is ready to "intervene" in the case of an Irish woman who is facing criminal charges in Dubai.

The Taoiseach made these comments as he responded to a question put to him in the Dáil by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald had said that she had spoken to the Irish woman Tori Towey, and stated that she "wants to come home". 

"Her passport has been destroyed. There was a travel ban imposed on her", Ms McDonald said. 

She also revealed that Ms Towey is facing charges of "of attempted suicide and the abuse of alcohol", adding that she "is now under the most incredible stress". 

"Her mother, Caroline has travelled to be with her". 

Ms McDonald said that as a "matter of urgency", the Government must "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".

Tori Towey has been living in Dubai for the past year, after getting a job with Emirates Airlines. 

"the most appalling circumstances"

In the Dáil, Taoiseach Simon Harris issued this response. 

"Thank you, Deputy McDonald, for bringing the case of Tori to my attention," he said. "I'm not directly appraised of the situation, but I'm very happy to be directly appraised of it now". 

Mr Harris said that he would work with the deputy to "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". 

Following this, Ann Flynn, an aunt of Tori Towey has said that the family are very nervous and "cannot wait", to get her home.

"Tori can't travel, so Caroline has to stay with Tori, so we're just all very anxious", adding that the family hope they will get word that the pair are on a plane and on their way home", Anne Flynn said today. "I don't know will this court case go ahead, or if it does what will happen? We're just very hopeful". 

"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 whose sister is Tori's mother Caroline, has added that she has been in touch with Caroline and Tori 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", she said. 

Ms Flynn also added that she is hopeful that the case will not get to court.

"quite surprising"

Elsewhere, Radha Stirling a human rights activist with the group Detained in Dubai, said she validated the charges Ms Towey is facing with Dubai's Department of Public Prosecutions. 

She said: "So, there's been no differences to the charges and they’re proceeding on that, which is very bizarre since they allegedly decriminalised attempted suicide in the past couple of years". 

Stirling added that the UAE has also been saying that it has decriminalised the consumption of alcohol; "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". 

She also revealed that the authorities have Ms Towey's passport, but her mother Caroline is free to leave the Air BnB property that she is staying in.

"It wouldn't matter if she did have her passport because it will have a travel ban and she wouldn't be able to leave without it. So, if the police drop the case against her, she will be able to get her passport and leave the country". 

She also added that 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". 

"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", she said. 








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