Tori Towey's family hopeful diplomatic efforts will free Roscommon woman held in Dubai

Tori Towey's family hopeful diplomatic efforts will free Roscommon woman held in Dubai

The aunt of Tori Towey, an Irish woman who has been banned from leaving Dubai, has said the family are hopeful that diplomatic efforts will lead to the charges against her being dropped.

Ms Towey (28), from Co Roscommon, was a victim of domestic violence and has been banned from leaving the United Arab Emirates.

Her mother, Caroline, has flown to Dubai to be with her daughter.

Ms Towey's aunt, Anne Flynn, told RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland that the family were "very, very anxious."


“We keep hoping that we'll get word that they're on a plane, on the way home.

“I don't know if this court case go ahead, or if it does, what will happen?”

Ms Flynn described her niece as a beautiful young woman, “full of life and full of adventure”, adding the situation is “really terrible”.

“I've been in touch with them [Tori and Caroline] every day, several times a day, since all this started.


“They're both trying to keep positive. We're trying to keep positive as well, but it's on your mind constantly, and I'm sure it's on their minds because all the family gets in touch with them.”


Meanwhile, the chief executive of Detained in Dubai, Radha Stirling, spoke to Newstalk radio, praising the speedy response of the Irish Government to Ms Towey's case.

“I’m super impressed by Ireland’s response, it was so swift,” Ms Stirling said.

“When a government gets behind their citizens, when they go the extra mile, they are successful in getting citizens home.”

Ms Stirling, who said she is in daily contact with Ms Towey, said she is hopeful that diplomatic efforts by the Department of Foreign Affairs would lead to the case against Ms Towey being dropped, allowing her to return to Ireland.

Tori's case is due to be held next week, Ms Stirling added, and outlined the background of the case.

Background of the Case

Ms Stirling explained Ms Towey had moved to Dubai last year to pursue an aviation career.

“She was working as cabin crew for Emirates Airlines, and she ended up marrying a South African man.

“Things went south very quickly, and he became physically abusive to her. She went to hospital and had severe injuries.

“After that, there was another assault, and she broke free, ran up to the bathroom, and she woke up with paramedics and police over her, and she was taken to the police station and actually charged with attempted suicide and consuming alcohol,” Ms Stirling said.

She described it as “absurd” that a woman who had been assaulted would be further abused by the system.

“We have seen over the years rape victims charged with sex outside marriage. We've seen this kind of culture coming from the UAE before.

This is the fastest I've ever seen this happen from a government, so I'm super impressed by Ireland's response

“They had made an effort for public relations purposes, they were starting to take women's rights a bit more seriously, victim rights, but it seems like nothing has changed. This is truly astonishing that someone who's been beaten to the degree that she has bruises all over her body, and now she's being abused by the system itself again.”


Ms Stirling added: “I find it outrageous, and I can see that's why there's so much support out there from Irish citizens, from politicians, from your leaders in your government. It's amazing to see people really standing behind her and wanting her home as soon as possible.”

Ms Stirling said Tori is currently recuperating in rental accommodation with her mother, and spoke to Ireland's ambassador to the UAE on Monday night.

“She is exhausted, and she's finding it very overwhelming, but at the same time, we're really, really warmed by all of the support that she's been getting,” Ms Stirling said.

“I don't think she expected all of that. I don't think she expected the Irish Government to motivate themselves as quickly, and this is the fastest I've ever seen this happen from a government, so I'm super impressed by Ireland's response.

“We've dealt with many human rights issues like this, and when the government gets behind the citizen and talks to their counterparts, the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the UAE escalates it even to the ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, or the head of the police department and the justice system.

“When they do that, and they go the extra mile, rather than just deferring it and pretending they can't do anything, when they actually make the effort, they are successful in getting the citizens home.”

Ms Stirling added: “She is very, very much looking forward to coming home and recovering from what's been an extremely terrible, shocking year for her, in fact. So I think she needs to heal. She needs to be around friends and family and the safety of her country.”


Vivenne Clarke