Irish PM promises to bring home woman facing jail for attempted suicide in UAE
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Irish PM promises to bring home woman facing jail for attempted suicide in UAE

Prime Minister Simon Harris has pledged to bring home an Irish woman who was banned from leaving the United Arab Emirates after a suicide attempt.

Tori Towey, a 28-year-old Emirates Airlines employee from Boyle, Co Roscommon, has appeared in a Gulf War court charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse.

Ms Towey attempted suicide after suffering severe bruising during a brutal attack by her husband in their Dubai home. She faces a long prison sentence if convicted, according to advocacy group Detained in Dubai, which is helping her family.

Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the opposition, told parliament that Ms Towey was “under incredible stress”.

“Tori is a Roscommon woman and she wants to come home,” the Sinn Féin leader said on Tuesday.

In response, the Prime Minister promised to work with Ms McDonald “to intervene and see how we can support the Irish citizen in what seems to me to be a most dire situation.”

“Thank you, Deputy McDonald, for bringing Tori’s case to my attention,” Mr Harris said, according to Irish broadcaster RTE. “I am not directly informed of the situation but I am very happy to be directly informed of it now.”

Ms McDonald described Ms Towey as a “victim of the most severe domestic violence” and added that she was in a state of extreme distress after her passport was “destroyed”.

“She has been placed under a travel ban and has made repeated appeals to the authorities for protection, but to no avail,” Ms McDonald told parliament.

“But after one particularly severe beating, during which her husband repeatedly tried to slam doors into her hands and break her limbs, she fled upstairs and tried to take her own life. Sadly, Tori now faces charges in Dubai for attempted suicide and alcohol abuse. The system there, instead of protecting this woman, who is an Irish citizen, has instead detained her to prosecute her.”

The Foreign Office told Sky News it was “aware of the matter and providing consular assistance” but declined to provide details.

Claire Kerrane, MP for Roscommon, said Ms Towy was “living in a nightmare” and should be allowed to return home as a matter of urgency. “Tori is a victim of serious domestic violence. She needs to be taken home.”

Ms Towey moved to Dubai in April 2023 and lives in a rented apartment with her mother Caroline.

“We are calling on the Dubai authorities to urgently drop the charges against Tori, lift the travel ban and allow her to return to Ireland with her mother,” said Radha Stirling, Chief Executive of Detained In Dubai. “Tori’s experience is nothing short of tragic and, quite frankly, she is lucky to be alive.”

Ms Towey’s case will be heard in court on July 18.

If you are feeling anxious or struggling to cope, you can speak to Samaritans in confidence on 116 123 (UK & Ireland), email [email protected] or visit the Samaritans website for details of your nearest branch. If you live in the USA and you or someone you know needs immediate mental health help, call or text 988 or visit to access the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline online chat. This is a free, confidential crisis helpline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you live in another country, you can visit to find a helpline in your area.