Northern Ireland news

Michelle O'Neill backs family of Noah Donohoe in justice campaign

Fiona Donohoe with her son Noah, who was found dead six days after he went missing.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has said she will "leave no stone unturned" in her support of the family of schoolboy Noah Donohoe as they seek answers about his death.

The 14-year-old went missing on June 21 and his naked body was found in a storm drain in north Belfast six days later.

He was travelling to Cave Hill country park to meet friends on the day of his disappearance.

Police originally said they believed he had fallen from his bike and possibly received a head injury that may have caused him to behave out of character.

A post mortem showed he died by drowning and did not have a head injury.

After a meeting with the family and their legal team, the Sinn Féin deputy leader has appealed for anyone with information that can assist them their search for the truth about his death to come forward.

Ms O'Neill said the teenager's death "was a tragedy which stunned us all and touched the hearts of everyone".

"Our thoughts go first and foremost to Noah's mother, Fiona, and to all who knew and loved him", she said.

"I have met with Fiona and with her legal team and have told them I will leave no stone unturned to help them find the truth.

"Understandably, people are now looking for answers around the circumstances which surrounded Naoh’s tragic death.

"In particular, the role of the PSNI in investigating Noah's disappearance and his death has been questioned by some.

"The Senior Coroner has opened an inquest into Noah’s death, and a hearing date has been set for January 2021.

"I would appeal to anyone with any evidence or information in respect of Noah’s disappearance to bring this immediately to the PSNI,, Fiona Donohoe’s Solicitor, Niall Murphy or Relatives for Justice".

A number of items belonging to the popular St Malachy's pupil, including his black Apollo mountain bike and some clothing, were found during search operations in the area he disappeared.

Noah's phone and laptop were also recovered by police and the family have previously said they are keen to have these returned.

The family were also told CCTV shows Noah naked and on his bike in the Northwood Road area on the day of his disappearance, but this has not yet been shown to the family.

However, the family believe other homes along the route Noah is thought to have travelled, with visible cameras at the front of their properties, were not examined by police.

They are keen for anyone with cameras to examine footage from the day Noah disappeared and hand over any relevant material to either police, the coroner or the family's legal representative.

Ms O'Neill said: "I would also reiterate the family’s plea to the householders in the relevant Shore Road area, to secure any private CCTV from 21st June at around 6pm.

"I would further appeal for householders to take steps to ensure that any such CCTV does not overwrite itself, as that can be an automated technical setting on CCTV systems.

"All families are entitled to know the truth surrounding the deaths of their loved ones and this must be the case for the family of Noah Donohoe".

Noah's distressed mother Fiona has also posted on her Facebook page that she had no answers about her son's disappearance and death.

Ms O'Neill said: "I fully support Fiona and the Donohoe family in their search for the truth about the tragic death of Noah. I will not rest to she has all the answers surrounding the loss of her beautiful boy. Noah's memory deserves nothing less".

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