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'public interest' Mother of Noah Donohoe calls for access to four files and transparency in PSNI investigation

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

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Noah Donohoe’s mother Fiona leaves Laganside Courts in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

Noah Donohoe’s mother Fiona leaves Laganside Courts in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

Noah Donohoe’s mother Fiona leaves Laganside Courts in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

The mother of schoolboy Noah Donohoe has said that all she wants is truth, ahead of what would have been the 16th birthday of her son.

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

Earlier this month, an inquest into his death was delayed after his mother’s legal representative raised concern about the amount of time left to deal with a number of outstanding issues.

The inquest had originally been scheduled to begin on January 10 next year.

Fiona Donohoe has called for transparency in the investigation.

“Noah would be 16 years old on November 25,” she said in a statement.

“It is a day of celebration of his beautiful life and all he accomplished. It is also a day for allowing Noah’s voice to be heard. The public are Noah’s voice.

“In our last court date for Noah’s inquest it came to light that the PSNI are seeking a court certificate called a ‘Public Interest Immunity’ to stop four files to be given over to Noah’s legal team.

“Which basically means, they are saying, it is in our interest as the public that they speak on our behalf and that ‘We can’t handle the Truth’.”

At a meeting of the Policing Board earlier this month, political representatives questioned the PSNI about the case.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said that the family of Noah Donohoe needed transparency.

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Supporters gather outside Laganside Courts in Belfast ahead of a pre-inquest review hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

Supporters gather outside Laganside Courts in Belfast ahead of a pre-inquest review hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

Supporters gather outside Laganside Courts in Belfast ahead of a pre-inquest review hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “Noah Donohoe’s inquest has been adjourned.

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“KRW Law are saying that four police files containing potentially sensitive material are required by PSNI to require reassessment as to whether they should redacted under public interest immunity.

“What Fiona Donohoe needs is transparency and not the idea that some of these reports are going to be redacted.

“I have to say I find it appalling.”

In response, assistant chief constable Mark McEwan said: “Yesterday was a preliminary hearing for Noah Donohoe’s inquest.

“The issue of disclosure did come up, and I have to say there is no delay from the PSNI side in terms of disclosure.

“Disclosure will be completed within a two to four-week time period.”

He added: “We are hopeful that next week the coroner can attend our own sensitive disclosure unit to help us assess and oversee the assessment of what is relevant to the inquest and what may go forward for public interest immunity.

“I think that is a natural part of that inquest procedure.

“In fact, the coroner himself commented that we are making reasonably good progress.”

Ms Donohoe is calling on people to take part in a “carcade” on November 25 in Belfast, which will see 16 blue balloons released to mark the birthday of Noah.

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