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Premier says travel ban imposed on Irish woman in Dubai has been lifted

Taoiseach Simon Harris said Tori Towey would be taken to the airport as soon as she is ready to go.

Irish premier Simon Harris has said that a travel ban imposed by Dubai authorities on Irish woman Tori Towey, who was reportedly charged with attempted suicide, has been lifted.

Tori Towey, 28, a flight attendant from Co Roscommon, was charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse after waking up in a police station after an attack, Irish parliamentarians were told.

Dubai authorities had also banned her from leaving the state, the Dail chamber heard.

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)

Addressing the Irish parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Harris said: “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.”

He thanked the Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates for their work on the case.

Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Ireland’s main opposition party Sinn Fein, had raised the case in the Irish parliament on Wednesday for the second day in a row, criticising what she said was the “medieval, grotesque treatment of women” in the United Arab Emirates.

“(Tori) does not belong to Dubai, she belongs at home in Ireland,” Ms McDonald said.

The Taoiseach thanked Ms McDonald and Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane for raising the “distressing” case and said she had spoken to Ms Towey and her mother Caroline, who is with her in Dubai.

He said the Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates has been in constant contact with Ms Towey.

“We want Tori Towey back in this country, we want her back home in Roscommon,” Mr Harris said.

“No effort will be spared by us, by Ireland, to make progress on this matter, to get Tori home. She’s not a criminal, she’s a victim of gender-based violence.”

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.

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.

“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 people and the Irish Government had “really warmed” them and “given them hope and inspiration”.

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

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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