Northern Ireland news

Noah Donohoe: Police probing potential breaches of parading and Covid laws following impromptu walk

Police attending an impromptu walk in memory of Noah Donohoe in Belfast on Sunday. Picture by Hugh Russell

POLICE are investigating potential breaches of Covid and parading legislation after a walk in honour of Belfast teenager Noah Donohoe.

Large crowds took part in an impromptu walk from City Hall to Belfast Castle on Sunday.

The teenager's mother, Fiona Donohoe, described it as a "pilgrimage" to complete the journey her son was not able to make after he went missing on his way to meet friends in June last year.

The gathering - which took place just days after the family met Chief Constable Simon Byrne to discuss the case - was originally intended to be a 'white line' show of support from 3pm on Sunday.

Those taking part had been urged to remain within their bubbles.

However, as Ms Donohoe walked, a large crowd followed her towards Belfast Castle.

Noah (14), from the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast, went missing on June 21 2020.

Noah Donohoe (14) was found dead in a storm drain in north Belfast six days after he went missing in June last year. File picture by PSNI, Press Association

His body was found in a storm drain in north Belfast six days later. A post-mortem examination found that the teenager died as a result of drowning.

Police confirmed last month that an investigation had been launched regarding access to the storm drain where the St Malachy's College pupil was found.

During Sunday's march police warned that those who took part risked being arrested.

It is an offence to organise or take part in a march without first notifying the Parades Commission.

Large gatherings are also banned under coronavirus laws.

A PSNI spokeswoman said it was investigating potential breaches of coronavirus and parading legislation.

"An investigation is underway in relation to potential offences under the Public Processions Legislation and Health Protection Regulations during an event in Belfast yesterday (Sunday 28th March)," she said.

"Where individuals are identified as potentially committing offences, the matter will be reported to the Public Prosecution Service for their consideration."

Ms Donohoe and her sister Niamh had an online meeting with PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne last week to raise issues regarding Noah's case.

Following the Zoom call, the family said it had been "frank and constructive" and they had "conveyed our frustrations and concerns".

A full inquest into the teenager's death is scheduled to begin in January next year.

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