'Remember my Noah' | 

Noah Donohoe's mum Fiona's heartfelt message on first Christmas without son

Sadly missed: Noah Donohoe wearing a Christmas hat and playing the guitar

Patricia Devlin

THE mother of late teenager Noah Donohoe paid the ultimate tribute to her son on her first Christmas Day spent without the special schoolboy by her side.

On Friday morning, Fiona Donohoe swam in the sea to remember the 14-year-old just six months after he passed away in unexplained circumstances.

In a moving video montage shared by her niece Shaneane on social media, Fiona, alongside sister Niamh, was filmed wading into the water at Portmarnock beach outside Dublin for an early morning swim for Noah.

Filmed just after sunrise on Christmas morning, the Belfast woman, who is originally from Strabane, Co Tyrone, held hands with her family as they entered the Irish Sea.

Moments before taking to the water, Fiona said: “This is our Christmas gift to Noah on Christmas morning. Happy Christmas.”

Emotional: Fiona and Niamh go for a swim at Portmarnock

After paying the heart-touching tribute, Fiona and her family stood on the sand holding up a poster print of a large blue heart with the words ‘Remember My Noah’.

The Donohoes also shared a sweet but solemn picture of family members gathered around a tree in what was their first Christmas day spent without the St Malachy’s College pupil.

The emotional image comes as a local politician called for an outside police authority to take over the handling of the PSNI’s investigation into Noah’s disappearance and death.

Tribute: Fiona and Niamh’s Christmas message

Derry and Strabane District Council representative Raymond Barr said he believed the PSNI had “lost credibility” over mounting unanswered questions raised by Noah’s family over his passing.

Speaking to the Sunday World yesterday, the independent councillor said: “It is my view that the investigative team that handled Noah’s case should step aside and a team from another police authority should be brought in.

“In my opinion, they have lost credibility, too many mistakes have been made and confidence lost.

Noah Donohoe's mum Fiona along with sister Niamh and Noah's cousins remembering him on Christmas day

“We have been warned about not speculating on Noah’s case, but the lack of activity from the police has led to this speculation,” he claimed.

“The family have been crying out for help and have not only been ignored by the authorities but also by politicians, they should all be ashamed of themselves.”

The independent councillor was previously behind a motion, unanimously backed by council colleagues, calling for the Police Ombudsman to launch an investigation into the PSNI handling of Noah’s disappearance and death.

Councillor Barr said at the time: “This mother needs answers, she needs closure. She wants to know what happened to her 14-year-old child.

Noah Donohoe's mum Fiona and Aunt Niamh along with his Cousins take a dip in the Sea on Christmas day

“But the family are being met with a wall of silence, they have been presented with theories and scenarios that are not evidence.

“80,000 people have signed up to a social media page in support of the family, they all want to know what happened to Noah.

“The family just want the truth of what happened to Noah, regardless of what that truth is. The PSNI should have nothing to fear from this investigation by the Police Ombudsman.”

Noah’s body was discovered in a north Belfast storm drain on June 27, six days after going missing on a bike ride across the city to meet friends

In what was described by PSNI Superintendent Muir Clarke at the time as “one of the most unusual missing persons inquiries” he had ever dealt with, Noah’s belongings and some of his clothes were found discarded along the route of his final journey.

He was last seen unclothed, getting off his bike, in the Northwood Drive area of north Belfast close to the entrance of the storm drain where his body was later discovered some 950 metres inside. A post-mortem found the 14-year-old to have died by drowning.

However, his family say there are multiple questions still surrounding the mysterious circumstances that led to his death.

A full coroner’s inquest into his death will take place early next year.

The Sunday World previously revealed how Fiona Donohoe had been forced to use social media to raise a number of concerns over the probe into her son’s death.

That included allegations that water samples taken by investigators to compare that found on Noah’s lungs were “not kept”.

The grieving mum had also been forced to hit back at sick trolls posting hurtful speculation online.

“I know MY son... he wasn’t an exhibitionist... he wasn’t on drugs or alcohol...he did not know that street... (his) last search on his Google as police seen was ‘Cavehill'...NOT get naked and go to a random unknown storm drain,” she wrote on Twitter last week.

“Can I request anyone who has not read all the fact given... please do not comment... the facts so far are there to read... as I research and learn... I give facts... do not want speculators."

Fiona Donohoe thanks Patricia Devlin

Since the summer, the Donohoes have led a tireless online campaign to help find those answers, launching a cofidential email and telephone line asking anyone with information to come forward.

Tens of thousands have rallied behind the ‘My Noah’ drive, with many calling on the authorities, including the police, politicians, and also the media, to highlight the Donohoes’ concerns.

Celebrities, including world champion boxers David Haye and Carol Frampton, actresses Bronagh Waugh and Karen Hassan, have also posted videos in support.

Murals and posters of the popular teen have appeared across Northern Ireland and beyond in support of their quest, with key landmarks and public buildings lit up many times in remembrance of the teenager.

Last weekend, a series of virtual concerts involving 26 artists from across Ireland was held to remember Noah and highlight the family’s courageous crusade, which includes a Twitter storm at 6.11pm each and every Sunday – the day and time the teen went missing.

More than 100,000 people tuned in to watch the ‘Noah’s Army’ gigs, which included performances from Eurovision star Mickey Joe Harte, Strabane Brass Band and Holy Cross College Choir.

Thanking all those who took part in the weekend long event, Fiona Donohoe said: “I want to say thank you from the bottom of Noah and my heart for a beautiful weekend of music, that made Noah’s voice sing out loud and clear with so much passion.

“There were moments of laughter, dancing, and tears, all beautiful memories. Noah was so in the midst of it all”.

Last week, the Donohoes were forced to release a statement over a sinister social media post suggesting to picket the homes of individuals suspected of being linked to an ongoing criminal investigation into Noah’s case.

The post, uploaded by an individual not involved in the family’s campaign, was posted after a video appeared of a man recently charged with theft over the discovery of the teenager’s backpack and laptop days after he went missing.

Daryl Paul, of Cliftonville Avenue, who appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court in November on the single charge, was released from custody earlier this month after a judge remanded him for four weeks.

A video, taken hours after he was released over a week ago, showed a neighbour in an angry exchange with the 33 year-old accused in the hallway of a Belfast apartment complex.

In a statement posted on the My Noah pages, the family said they did not condone “vigilante behaviour of any type”.

“Anyone seen to be sharing material on our platforms encouraging such like will have to be removed, as advised by our legal team,” it added.

“Noah’s investigation is ongoing and complex and people stirring up this type of behaviour are not fully informed of the facts and stand to prejudice the case. We respectfully ask for people to keep this in mind.”

The statement ended: “Thank you again for all the love and support, it’s been such a hard six months but we will get the truth the right way with Noah’s Army.”

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