Treatment of Irish woman ‘charged with attempted suicide in Dubai unacceptable’

The treatment of an Irish woman who has reportedly been charged by Dubai authorities with attempting suicide is “utterly unacceptable”, Ireland’s premier has said.

Tori Towey, 28, from Co Roscommon, was a victim of domestic violence and has been banned from leaving the state, Irish parliamentarians were told on Tuesday.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said in the Dail chamber that Ms Towey had been charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse as she urged the Irish Government to intervene.

Simon Harris speaking to the media outside Government Buildings in Dublin
Simon Harris said it was ‘utterly unacceptable’ how an Irish citizen was being treated in Dubai (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

Speaking on Wednesday, Irish premier Simon Harris said he had spoken to Ms Towey and her mother Caroline, who is with her in Dubai.

“I don’t want to say too much because there’s a lot of, as you can imagine, diplomatic activity going on in the background,” he said.

“Tory has been through, in my view, the most horrific situation and it is utterly unacceptable how an Irish citizen is being treated.”

Mr Harris said he had spoken to Ireland’s deputy premier Micheal Martin, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ireland’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

He said it was his “absolute priority” to get Ms Towey home to Co Roscommon and will stay in contact with her.

“I do want to acknowledge our ambassador and our embassy have been working on this case for a period of time. Let me just say there’s a lot of work going on in the background here.

“What Tory has been through is unimaginable for so many people in this country.”

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

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

“We keep hoping we’ll get word that they’re on a plane on their way home.

“It’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman that was full of life, full of adventure, she loved travelling.”

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

“Right now she’s just happy to be with her mother in safety. It’s all very recent,” Ms Stirling added.

She said the case is due to be heard in court next week.

“I think when it comes to a case like this it’s all about diplomacy,” she told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

“Various members of the Irish Government have contacted the UAE’s ambassador to Ireland and 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.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs told the PA news agency on Wednesday it was providing “ongoing consular assistance” in the case, as was Ireland’s 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 engaging with all the relevant authorities in UAE on the case,” the department said.

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

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