Northern Ireland news

Noah Donohoe's mother says she has 'so many issues' over the search for her son

Fiona Donohoe spoke to Tommy Bowe on Ireland AM about the tragic loss of her son, Noah in June 2020. Picture by Ireland AM

NOAH Donohoe's mother Fiona has told of how she has "so many issues" in her search for answers about the death of her beloved son.

Speaking on Ireland AM yesterday in her first TV interview, Ms Donohoe said she has questions for the PSNI, in particular, "why it took six days" for the teenager to be found.

Noah, a pupil at St Malachy's College, left his home in south Belfast on Sunday, June 21 to meet friends at Cave Hill in north Belfast.

The last sighting of the teenager is believed to have been around 6.11pm that evening.

The young man was reportedly seen cycling naked and police had initially said he may have fallen from his bike and possibly sustained a head injury causing him to behave out of character.

Hundreds of people later took to the streets to help search for the missing teenager.

His bike was later found and six days later his body was found in a storm drain in north Belfast.

A post-mortem examination found he had died as a result of drowning but there was no sign of a head injury.

His death is the subject of both a coroner’s inquiry and a separate corporate manslaughter investigation in relation to access to the storm drain where his body was found.

Following his death, thousands of people have become members of `Noah's Army' and supported Fiona and her family in their search for answers about what happened to her son.

Speaking yesterday, Ms Donohoe, who was accompanied by her sister Niamh, told presenter Tommy Bowe that it is the support of her family and Noah's Army that "keeps me going".

Describing Noah as the "light of my life" she also spoke of his enthusiasm for life.

"He could fit 25 hours in the day," she said.

"He had so much enthusiasm for everything and whatever activity he could get into. He was an old soul with such a young, vibrant spirit.

"I miss him so much. His hugs and his love. I feel him constantly. It is just hard physically, not being able to give him a hug. It's difficult."

Recalling the day he went missing, Ms Donohoe said that before he left, they hugged and said they loved each other.

When he didn't call her at 6.30pm as planned, she said she knew "instinctively" that something was wrong.

Unable to drive she called a friend in Ballymena who drove to Belfast to bring her up to Cavehill.

"There was something I felt wasn't right," she said.

After contacting the PSNI, a missing person appeal was issued and in the days that followed, huge search operations took place.

Ms Donohoe revealed that two individual eyewitnesses came forward who each saw a naked child cycling on a bike in the area.

Six days later Ms Donohoe, who also consulted a medium in Dungannon for help, was told that Noah's body had been found in a storm drain.

"I have so many issues over the search actually and the police strategy over the search and why it took six days," she said.

And she vowed that she is "not giving up and Noah's Army are not giving up" in their bid to find the answers about what happened.

Revealing a foundation had been set up in his memory Ms Donohoe said the Noah Donohoe Foundation would be cross-community and would help other children fulfil their potential in Noah's memory.

"It's Noah's Army and Noah that are going to keep Noah's lights alive and his energy and vibrancy, through other children," she said.

"His kindness in his young years, his compassion and that is through the foundation that it will live on."

She added: "We will get the answers."

Niamh Donohoe added that she and her family are "just overwhelmed" by the support they have received.

"They carry us though some of our lowest points," she said.

"We are so grateful for all their support."

In response to criticism of the investigation, a police spokesman said: "The disappearance and death of Noah Donohoe remains a coronial investigation, as such, any enquiries regarding that investigation should be directed to the Coroner’s Office."

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