Taoiseach promises to intervene to help Irish woman detained in Dubai for ‘attempted suicide’

Dáil hears Tori Towey has been prevented from leaving country as a result of charges

Tori Towey has been the victim of domestic violence in Dubai and is subject to a travel ban over alleged charges, the Dáil heard. Photograph: Facebook

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to a Roscommon woman reportedly detained in Dubai for attempting to take her own life.

Tori Towey (28) who moved to the city in the United Arab Emirates where she worked for Emirates Airline, has been prevented from leaving the country as a result of the charges, the Dáil heard on Tuesday.

In response to questions in the Dáil, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he is prepared to intervene and offer any support required by Ms Towey, who is from Co Roscommon.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil that Ms Towey has been the victim of domestic violence and is subject to a travel ban over allegations she illegally consumed alcohol and attempted suicide.


Attempted suicide is a crime in the Arab state, carrying a sentence of up to six months.

Ms McDonald said she has spoken to Ms Towey, and that the young woman’s mother, Caroline, has travelled to Dubai to be with her.

“Unfortunately, Tori now faces charges in Dubai of attempted suicide and the abuse of alcohol, the system over there rather than protecting this woman who is an Irish citizen, chose instead to detain her to charge her. She’s now under the most incredible stress when I spoke to her this afternoon,” Ms McDonald said.

“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.”

She said Ms Towey had been a victim “of the most gross domestic violence”.

“Her passport has been destroyed and a travel ban was imposed on her. She had gone to the authorities seeking protection many times but to absolutely no avail.”

Ms McDonald said that “following one particularly severe beating in which her husband repeatedly tried to slam doors on her arms and break her limbs, she escaped upstairs and attempted to take her own life”.

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 Minister of Foreign Affairs 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”.

In response to queries, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the department “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.”

Ms Towey’s case was first highlighted by an advocacy group called Dubai Detained which said it is representing her and her mother.

The UAE Embassy in Dublin has been contacted for comment.

If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, please contact The Samaritans at 116 123 or email at jo@samaritans.ie

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times