‘Over the moon’: Tori Towey hopes to return to Ireland on Thursday after charges dropped in Dubai

Taoiseach describes Irishwoman’s case as ‘horrific nightmare scenario that no Irish citizen should have to experience’

A travel ban that had prevented Irish citizen Tori Towey from leaving Dubai has been lifted, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil. Video: Oireachtas TV

Irishwoman Tori Towey was on Wednesday night hoping to return to Ireland on Thursday after charges against her were dropped by Dubai prosecutors.

The 28-year-old from Roscommon was charged with attempted suicide and illegally consuming alcohol in the United Arab Emirates city, after suffering sustained domestic violence and abuse since marrying her husband in March, the Dáil heard this week.

Ms Towey, who has lived and worked in Dubai for more than a year as an Emirates Airlines flight attendant, was “over the moon” after the charges were dropped and the travel ban lifted, according to Radha Stirling, chief executive of support group Detained in Dubai.

It is understood Ms Towey was awaiting instructions from the embassy late on Wednesday evening concerning her return to Ireland, though her family was not expecting her to be able to leave until Thursday at the earliest.


Speaking after the charges were dropped, Taoiseach Simon Harris described Ms Towey’s case as a “horrific nightmare scenario that no Irish citizen should ever have to experience”.

“I am extremely frustrated that an Irish citizen found themselves in this position.

“We talk about zero tolerance in this country towards any sort of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and I want to be clear to countries right around the world [that] we extend that zero tolerance to any of our citizens no matter where they are based in this world,” he told RTÉ's Six One News on Wednesday evening.

A statement from the Dubai government said it had “closed the case involving Irish national Tori Towey after she and her husband, a South African national, were involved in a case featuring mutual charges of assault, dating back to May 2024.

“The couple reached a reconciliation and withdrew the complaints filed against each other.

“Dubai Public Prosecution has also dropped the charges of attempted suicide against her considering the circumstances of the case and to enable her to return to normal life,” the statement said.

After the travel ban imposed on Ms Towey had been lifted, Mr Harris told TDs that the United Arab Emirates embassy would take her to the airport “as soon as she is ready to go”.

Mr Harris thanked the embassy, saying Ireland’s Ambassador to the UAE, Alison Milton, “has been in very frequent and intense contact with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs” on Ms Towey’s situation.

The Taoiseach stressed that Ms Towey “doesn’t need to come home after a court case because she is not a criminal”.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin anticipated Ms Towey and her mother, Caroline, would be returning to Ireland at the earliest opportunity after the travel ban had been lifted, saying it has been “traumatic” for her.

The two had been staying in an Airbnb after Caroline flew out to support her daughter, according to Ms Stirling, who praised the speed at which the Government intervened.

“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. 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,” she said.

Separately, Ms Towey’s aunt, Ann Flynn, said the family has been “very anxious” while the charges brought against her niece were “hard to believe”.

“It’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman, you know, that was full of life and full of adventure,” she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Jack White

Jack White

Jack White is a reporter for The Irish Times

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times