'Justice for Noah' | 

Mum of Noah Donohoe vows to fight for 'thorough investigation' into teen's death

“All we want is the truth. Noah deserves that and every parent deserves to know that when their children leave their homes, they will return safely”

Fiona Donohoe speaks to the media at Thursday night’s event

Patricia Devlin

THE mother of teenager Noah Donohoe has said a car convoy which packed out the streets of Belfast is “just the start” of her quest for justice over her son’s death.

Speaking on Thursday, the heartbroken mum said she would continue to fight for a “thorough investigation” into how the schoolboy lost his life in after disappearing on a bike ride to meet friends last year.

“This not the end of our journey, it is just the start. We will not stop until we have justice for Noah,” she said. “All we want is the truth.

“Noah deserves that and every parent deserves to know that when their children leave their homes, they will return safely.”

In scenes not witnessed in the city since the 1994 ceasefire, an estimated 500 cars packed out the streets to follow the family in the campaigning cavalcade which drove to the gates of Stormont.

Along the route of the two-hour long convoy, which travelled the streets where Noah was last seen alive, supporters – including NHS workers – social-distanced to line the footpath to show their support for the grieving mum’s fight for answers.

Two teens display a banner in support

Those carrying posters and pictures of the 14-year-old, whose body was discovered in a north Belfast storm drain in June, stood out in solidarity in areas such as Andersonstown, the Antrim Road, the Shore Road and Upper Newtownards Road.

Horns sounded out throughout the emotional journey, which brought Fiona Donohoe to tears as she witnessed both young and old travel from different parts of Northern Ireland in car family bubbles to show their support.

North Belfast MP John Finucane, People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll and Independent councillor Raymond Barr were the few politicians who took part in what the family called ‘Noah’s Convoy’.

Councillor Barr, who last year passed a unanimous motion at Derry and Strabane District Council calling for a Police Ombudsman probe into the PSNI’s handling of the investigation into Noah’s death, said the level of support showed to the family was like nothing he had seen before.

“The Ombudsman claims this is not an issue of public interest, try telling that to the thousands – yes thousands – who turned out tonight to demand truth and justice for Fiona and Noah,” he said.

“It most certainly is in this public’s interest to get answers.”

The cavalcade left a packed out Black’s Road car park at around 5.45pm where vehicles backed out onto a nearby roundabout.

As Fiona was driven by her sister Niamh at the front of the convoy, cars lined up on the streets joining the endless stream to the sound of horns and shouts of ‘justice for Noah’.

Arriving at Parliament Buildings just after 8pm, Fiona exited her car and tied a blue ribbon to the gates.

Fiona Donohoe (R) next to her sister Niamh (L) were overwhelmed at the public support as they continue their search for justice for Noah

She also attached a touching note with a poem, signed off with the words: “We are Noah’s voice and we will keep calling his name for answers”.

Speaking afterwards Fiona said: “This is only one part of the journey to Stormont for justice and answers, and we will get them.

“This is the start of a new year but not the end of our journey and we are going to keep going, because there is more than this.

Young Noah Donohoe strums on a Christmas present

“[We want] the truth... we want answers. If I knew the truth I wouldn’t be standing here. All I want is for a thorough investigation for my son, for every child in Northern Ireland.”

She was supported by her sister Niamh, who added: “All we want is the truth.”

Noah’s body was discovered in a north Belfast storm drain six days after going missing on Sunday, June 21.

His disappearance sparked one of the biggest missing person search operations ever to have taken place in Northern Ireland.

At the time, PSNI Superintendent Muir Clarke described the boy’s disappearance as “one of the most unusual missing persons inquiries” he had ever dealt with.

A post-mortem report later stated the boy died as a result of drowning.

In November, 33-year-old Belfast man Daryl Paul appeared before a Belfast court accused of stealing Noah’s laptop, which had become separated from the teenager, on his final journey.

Some of Noah’s clothing has never been recovered.

A full inquest into his death is due to take place this year.

Coroner Joe McCrisken told a preliminary hearing last year that he wanted to set out “fact against fiction” in order to “dispel the many baseless and inaccurate rumours which continue to circulate” surrounding the boy’s tragic death.

It was also heard that “a number of evidential lines of inquiry” have now arisen from material PSNI have received to date.

Barrister Declan Quinn told the court that the PSNI is investigating “health and safety” issues that may arise in this inquest.

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