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Travel ban imposed on Irish woman in Dubai has been lifted, premier says

Taoiseach Simon Harris said Tori Towey will be taken to the airport as soon as she is ready.

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Taoiseach Simon Harris outside Government Buildings in Dublin

Irish premier Simon Harris has said a travel ban imposed by Dubai authorities on Irish woman Tori Towey has been lifted.

Ms Towey, a 28-year-old flight attendant from Co Roscommon, was charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse after being attacked, Irish parliamentarians were told.

Dubai authorities also banned her from leaving the state, the Dail chamber heard.

Minutes after telling the Irish parliament on Wednesday that “no effort would be spared” to get Ms Towey home, Mr Harris was given an update that the travel ban had been lifted.

“I’ve just been informed that the travel ban has been lifted, that the embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go, and that the embassy of course will continue to follow up on the case, which is still active as of now.”

Mr Harris said he spoke to Ms Towey and her mother Caroline shortly after the update, and she “will soon be home”.

He thanked the Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates for their work on the case.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald had raised the case in the Irish parliament earlier on Wednesday for the second day in a row, criticising what she said was the “medieval, grotesque treatment of women” in the UAE.

“(Tori) does not belong to Dubai, she belongs at home in Ireland,” Ms McDonald said.

She later welcomed the news that Ms Towey is due to return home to Ireland, saying: “I think the public reaction, the public revulsion to the idea of a victim of vicious domestic violence being charged with offences herself, I think, really raised people’s hackles.

“I hope that her return home marks the end of this ordeal, of this nightmare for her. It raises fundamental questions around the treatment of women in Dubai.”

Ireland’s deputy premier and minister for foreign affairs Micheal Martin welcomed the news that Ms Towey was “free to return” and said he hoped this would happen “as soon as possible”.

He praised ambassador Alison Milton and the embassy in the UAE for their work on the case.

“It’s been very, very challenging and traumatic for Tori over the last while but I think our team there has been in contact and has engaged with the family and indeed with the authorities as well, and it’s been a constructive engagement, and they have responded with the issue being resolved, facilitating Tory’s travel home.”

Ms Towey’s aunt Ann Flynn said Ms Towey and her mother Caroline had been trying to stay positive in recent days.

“They’re very nervous and can’t wait to get home,” she told RTE on Wednesday morning.

“It’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman that was full of life, full of adventure, she loved travelling.”

Radha Stirling, founder of the Detained in Dubai group, said the support of the Irish people and the Irish Government had “really warmed” Ms Towey and her mother and had “given them hope and inspiration”.

She said Ms Towey’s case had been due to be heard in court next week.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was, along with Ireland’s embassy in the UAE, providing “ongoing consular assistance” in the case.

“The Irish ambassador to the UAE is in regular contact with our citizen (including this morning). The embassy is also engaging with all the relevant authorities in UAE on the case,” the department told the PA news agency.

“Officials will continue to provide advice and consular assistance.”

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