Tori Towey's treatment in Dubai as 'medieval' - McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald has described the treatment of Tori Towey in Dubai as "medieval" and said the S...
James Wilson
James Wilson

21.34 10 Jul 2024

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Tori Towey's treatment in Duba...

Tori Towey's treatment in Dubai as 'medieval' - McDonald

James Wilson
James Wilson

21.34 10 Jul 2024

Share this article

Mary Lou McDonald has described the treatment of Tori Towey in Dubai as "medieval" and said the State will need to learn lessons from her ordeal. 

The 28-year-old woman from Boyle, County Roscommon was detained in Dubai after she was charged with attempting suicide

Ms Towey said she had been injured during an attack in her own home. 


Yesterday, Ms Towey’s case was raised by Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald at Leaders’ Questions and Taoiseach Simon Harris promised to look into the matter. 

“I hate sharing this because it’s such private trauma but it’s now on the public record,” Deputy McDonald told The Hard Shoulder

“In any event, that’s the level of desperation that she was driven to. 

“She awoke to paramedics treating her and rather than being taken to a hospital, she was taken to a police station where she was then charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse.

“She was put into a cell with 50 other women.” 

Ms Towey was then released on bail and her mother travelled to Dubai with her. 

The family reached out to Sinn Féin two days ago out of a sense of “desperation” and the party decided to raise Ms Towey’s case in the Dáil. 

Deputy McDonald said she believes the public outrage in Ireland “moved the dial” and saw the travel ban was lifted today. 

“I still don’t know - because it hasn’t been clarified - whether or not the charges that were made against her have been dropped,” she said. 

“They should be; it’s absolutely outrageous, outlandish and just unacceptable that a victim of… violence and brutality, who needs support and protection, finds herself as the accused. 

“That’s what happened here.” 

Tori Towey Tori Towey. 09/07/2024

Deputy McDonald described the decision to charge Ms Towey as “medieval” given what she had been through and a lesson Irish diplomats will need to learn from. 

“It’s utterly barbaric and it’s not acceptable,” she said. 

“Let’s also say this loud and clear; no Irish woman, no Irish citizen is going to be treated like that anywhere. 

“Be it in Dubai or anywhere else. 

“Therefore, the State, our embassies and our consular services - who do great work - have to be really, really on our game in terms of these types of cases as and when they arise.”

Tori Towey. Image: Detained in Dubai  Tori Towey. Image: Detained in Dubai

Following news that Ms Towey was free to return home, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he was delighted with the news. 

“This should never have been in place,” he said. 

“No Irish citizen should ever have to experience this and I certainly wasn’t going to stand for a situation where an Irish citizen who has been the victim of a gender based brutal attack would find themselves in a situation where instead of being supported, they’re being subjected to criminal charges.”

Speaking to Newstalk, Ms Towey’s aunt Ann Flynn said the family is delighted she is able to come home. 

“It’s brilliant news,” she said. 

“Thanks to all the TDs and the Ministers and the Taoiseach, Mary Lou and Claire [Kerrane TD] - they’re all amazing and we can’t say enough about them.”

You can listen back here:

Main image: Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin leader. Image: Photograph: Sam Boal / ©

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