United Arab Emirates News

Irish PM vows action after woman charged for attempted suicide in UAE

Irish Woman Detained in UAE on Charges of Alcohol Use and Attempted Suicide Amid Domestic Violence Allegations

Irish Government Intervenes as Tori Towey Faces Charges in UAE

Irish national Tori Towey has been detained in the United Arab Emirates and charged with using alcohol and trying to take her own life. She was allegedly the victim of domestic violence and had attempted unsuccessfully to return to Ireland.

The Irish leader and multiple MPs have raised concerns about Ms. Towey’s case ahead of a scheduled court appearance on July 18. Ireland’s leader has pledged to intervene after a 28-year-old Irish woman was detained in the United Arab Emirates on charges of using alcohol and trying to take her own life.

Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the Irish opposition party Sinn Féin, raised the case of Tori Towey in the Irish parliament on Tuesday. The flight attendant, who has been living in Dubai since April 2023, was a “victim of the most gross domestic violence,” according to Ms. McDonald, with her passport destroyed and the UAE government imposing a travel ban preventing her from returning to Ireland.

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“She went to the authorities seeking protection many times but to no avail,” Ms. McDonald told the parliament, describing a series of domestic violence incidents that left Ms. Towey severely injured and suicidal. “The system over there, rather than protecting this woman, who is an Irish citizen, chose instead to detain her and charge her. She is now under the most incredible stress.”

Ms. McDonald said Ms. Towey had been charged with attempted suicide and using alcohol in Dubai. Consuming alcohol is still largely illegal outside of licensed premises such as hotels. Simon Harris, the Taoiseach (prime minister), called the situation “the most appalling of circumstances” and said he would work with Ms. McDonald to intervene and support Ms. Towey.

Ms. Towey’s mother has traveled to Dubai to be with her daughter, who will appear in court on July 18, according to Radha Stirling, the head of the advocacy group Detained in Dubai. “Without diplomatic intervention from the Irish government, Tori faces months of hearings which could end with her lengthy and unfair detention,” Ms. Stirling said.

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Ms. McDonald said Ms. Towey, who comes from Roscommon in Ireland’s north-west, wanted to come home. Ms. McDonald requested that the UAE ambassador be called to give an explanation for Ms. Towey’s detention, and that it be “made plain to the authorities in Dubai that no woman should be treated in this way and that an Irish citizen, an Irish woman, will not be treated in this way.” Claire Kerrane, the member for Roscommon and Galway in the Irish parliament, wrote on Facebook to support Ms. McDonald’s speech and said she had been in direct contact with Ms. Towey as well as the Irish foreign minister. “I have since spoken to the Taoiseach directly and have been assured of action,” she wrote.

The situation of Tori Towey has drawn significant attention and concern from Irish political leaders and the public. Her case highlights the challenges faced by foreign nationals in the UAE, particularly in situations involving domestic violence and mental health issues. The Irish government’s commitment to intervening on her behalf underscores the importance of diplomatic efforts in protecting citizens abroad. The outcome of her court appearance on July 18 will be closely watched by many, as it could have significant implications for her future and for Ireland’s diplomatic relations with the UAE.

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