Tori Towey 'so relieved' to be in Ireland after Dubai ordeal

Tori Towey smiling at the camera. She has brown hair and eyebrows. Is wearing red lipstick and diamond stud earrings.
Tori Towey has arrived home nearly two weeks since ordeal began [DETAINED IN DUBAI GROUP]

A woman charged with criminal offences in Dubai after she was allegedly a victim of domestic violence has said she is "so relieved... thankful and grateful" to have returned to Ireland.

Tori Towey, 28, faced charges including attempted suicide and consuming alcohol and had her passport destroyed.

Her flight from Dubai landed in Dublin at 12:21 local time.

"I'm just so relieved, I just I can't believe it," Ms Towey told Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

Ms Towey added that the support of the Irish people and the media had been amazing.

Tori Towey in a suit jacket with yellow blouse, smiling beside a collection of pink and gold balloons that say welcome home tori, at Dublin Airpoirt
Ms Towey told reporters at Dublin Airport that she was "so grateful to be back" [RTÉ]

Ms Towey, from County Roscommon, was working as a flight attendant with an airline based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), when she was charged with attempting suicide and consuming alcohol.

Her case prompted an intervention by Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Simon Harris earlier this week after it was raised in the Dáil (Irish lower house of parliament).

Police in the UAE withdrew the charges against her on Wednesday and a travel ban was lifted.

Ms Towey said she was "so thankful and grateful to be back" and spoke of her fear of not being able to return to Ireland.

"Obviously when my mother came out to me it was a massive help, but it was just the unknown and just not knowing anything, not knowing what's going to happen," she said.

"It's only kind of between yesterday and today that I kind of got clarity. I wasn't getting any answers, but I'm just glad to be back."

'She will speak when she is ready'

Her case drew attention in Ireland when it was raised in the Dáil by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald on Tuesday.

"She has been the victim of the most gross domestic violence," Ms McDonald said.

"Her passport has been destroyed. There was a travel ban imposed on her."

The Irish government should make it "absolutely plain to the authorities of Dubai that no woman should be treated in this way", Ms McDonald told the Dáil, and that "an Irish citizen, an Irish woman, will not be treated in this way".

Simon Harris in a blyue suit and red tie
Taoiseach Simon Harris intervened in the case [PA]

The taoiseach thanked Ms McDonald for raising the case to his attention and said he was ready to "intervene".

Mr Harris said her treatment had been "utterly, utterly unacceptable".

He went on to say Ms Towey had "been the victim of male violence".

"What Tori has been through is, I think, unimaginable for so many people here in this country, that a woman who has been the victim of a brutal attack found herself waking up not in a hospital, but in a police station," Mr Harris added.

On Wednesday, the taoiseach told the Dáil that a travel ban preventing Ms Towey from leaving the UAE had been lifted and the embassy would be escorting her to the airport.

"The embassy will of course continue to follow up on the case which is still active as of now... and to thank our embassy for the work in relation to that".

Speaking at Dublin Airport on Thursday afternoon, Ms Towey thanked the taoiseach, Ms McDonald, tTtánaiste (deputy prime minister) Micheál Martin and the Irish ambassador to UAE.

She also thanked human rights advocate and lawyer Radha Stirling from Detained in Dubai, who assisted her case.

What happened up to this point?

  • 28 June - After allegedly being assaulted, Ms Towey is charged with attempting suicide

  • 9 July - Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald raises her situation in the Dáil and says her passport has been destroyed and she has been banned from travelling

  • Taoiseach Simon Harris says the Irish government will do what it can to help Ms Towey

  • 10 July - Mr Harris says he has spoken to Ms Towey and that she is increasingly positive about the situation

  • The taoiseach later confirms the travel ban has been lifted and she is preparing to travel to the airport and home to Ireland

  • The Dubai Public Prosecution confirms the case against Ms Towey has been dropped

  • 11 July - Ms Towey and her mother return to their home in the Republic of Ireland

  • If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can visit BBC Action Line.