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Fiona Donohoe appeals to PSNI Chief Constable to release information over son Noah’s death

Fiona Donohoe has appealed directly to PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne to release information over the death of her son Noah.

The 14-year-old St Malachy’s College pupil was found dead in a storm drain in the north Belfast in June 2020 - six days after he went missing.

Ms Donohoe spoke to the Belfast Telegraph following a protest held outside the Policing Board in Belfast’s docks on Thursday, calling for an end to Public Interest Immunity (PII).

She previously criticised the PSNI’s intent to secure PII certification on sensitive material that would otherwise be provided to her and other parties involved in the inquest proceedings.

“These things have to be done for Noah and as I said I feel like we are doing our own investigation, and that is not right,” stated Ms Donohoe.

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“It has to come under scrutiny, the PSNI not doing their investigation, which they stood by in their statement.”

She added that more needs done and it “shouldn’t be done by us, it should be done by public servants – the PSNI.”

Ms Donohoe posed a number of questions to Mr Byrne in relation to the PII and also to an interview of her and her sister Niamh potentially breaching Covid-19 regulations last year, which has now been scrapped.

It was in relation to a walk that took place in Belfast in March of 2021.

In a statement, a police spokeswoman said: "The case is subject to further review. The family’s legal representatives have been advised. No interviews will take place on Friday, March 4."

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Fiona Donohoe meets PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne.. The mother of Belfast schoolboy Noah Donohoe has urged the PSNI to release "all the information" relating to her son’s death. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Fiona Donohoe meets PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne.. The mother of Belfast schoolboy Noah Donohoe has urged the PSNI to release "all the information" relating to her son’s death. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Fiona Donohoe meets PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne.. The mother of Belfast schoolboy Noah Donohoe has urged the PSNI to release "all the information" relating to her son’s death. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Speaking outside the Policing Board, Mr Byrne told Ms Donahoe that he is not trying to “outwit” her with “weasel words” over the technicalities but “at the moment there is not an application for public interest immunity” on the case investigating Noah’s death.

“In terms of the duty that [Assistant Chief Constable] Mark [McEwan] has to discharge working with the coroner we just have to satisfy ourselves about how information is put to him,” he said.

“The biggest thing that I can say to you today is that we are confident that the coroner will see absolutely everything and getting to the search of truth for you the family and supporters that is the key bit.”

He added: “There won’t be any attempt to hide anything, sit behind any sort of crucial bit of information.

“Mark has been working really thoroughly to make sure the coroner has every piece of information.”

Ms Donohoe then accused him of “passing the buck” to the coroner and to ACC McEwan, the investigating officer.

“Niamh and I shouldn’t be doing investigations, you are public servants, you’re paid to, so we should not have to bring a key eyewitness to your door,” she said.

Her sister Niamh said that this witness was the “first phone call made seeing Noah naked on the street and still has not been interviewed, it is extremely worrying.”

Ms Donohoe said: “It would not have come to your attention if it wasn’t for us, that’s very worrying for the public that your job is to investigate.”

She then thanked him for his time but urged: “This is in public interest so it should all be done in the public, but I appreciate your time.”

During a meeting of Northern Ireland’s Policing Board on Thursday, Mr Byrne also acknowledged the “significant public interest” regarding the ongoing coroner’s inquest into the disappearance and death of Noah.

“I know this is a difficult issue and we may not be getting our message across, but I want to reassure members, and indeed the wider public, we are just not seeking to withhold any relevant information from the coroner and indeed Fiona,” he said.

“I know she wants to champion and seek answers to her son, and who wouldn’t?

“Despite the narrative we are working constructively to manage the requests of the coroner alongside other statutory duties to consider the effect of disclosure of a small amount of detail to the inquest of sensitive information gathering tactics or indeed the identity of witnesses and named individuals in this complex coronial process,” he added.

“I think it is worth restating that all of us, who play different roles in this tragic case, are as anxious as Noah’s family and supporters to resolve matters and open an inquest as soon as possible to bring it to the public domain for the first time I guess the results of our search for Noah and in what we’ve learned of his tragic death.”

The Police Chief added that, at present, an application for PII has not been made.


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