Northern Ireland

New bridge to be named after Noah Donohoe

A recently-built bridge in south Belfast is set to be named after Noah Donohoe. Picture by Hugh Russell.
A recently-built bridge in south Belfast is set to be named after Noah Donohoe. Picture by Hugh Russell. A recently-built bridge in south Belfast is set to be named after Noah Donohoe. Picture by Hugh Russell.

A NEW bridge in Belfast is set to be named after tragic teenager Noah Donohoe.

Opened last September, the Lagan Gateway bridge is part of a £5.2 million regeneration project that links the the Lagan towpath and the Annadale Embankment in Stranmillis.

A proposal to name the bridge in memory of the teenager was taken at a meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources committee at Belfast City Council yesterday.

It is understood the matter will be brought before a meeting of the full council next month.

His mother, Fiona Donohoe, said it was a "beautiful tribute and fitting as Noah and I spent many a summer's day walking that scenic route together."

The public was asked for ideas on a name for the new 83-metre bridge and more than 1,500 suggestions were sent in to name it in Noah's memory.

Ms Donohoe said that on behalf of Noah her family was "humbled and grateful to the public".

"That Noah's name and memory will be given a permanent place in the heart of our city, is a touching and heartfelt tribute for which we will be eternally grateful," she added.

The 14-year-old went missing during a bike trip from his home in south Belfast on June 21 2020.

His body was found in a north Belfast storm drain six days later after a major search operation involving police and members of the public.

A post-mortem examination found that the St Malachy's College pupil had died as a result of drowning.

His family is currently locked in a campaign to establish the circumstances of his death.

The PSNI has sought to use Public Interest Immunity (PII) certificates during an inquest into his death, which is due to start in November.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shailesh Vara signed a PII certificate in one of his first actions in post which coroner Joe McCrisken will rule on.

The certificate has been brought by the PSNI and required ministerial approval.

Mr McCrisken will see all the material in unredacted form before having the final say on whether to approve the police request.

The use of a PII certificate is opposed by Ms Donohoe who believes it is an attempt to cover up the circumstances of her son's death - the PSNI has ruled out foul play.

An online petition in support of all material being disclosed at the inquest has attracted more than 300,000 signatures.

In recent weeks, several protests have been held across the north to highlight concerns over the use of PIIs in the case.

In March, at a public meeting of the Policing Board, the PSNI stated that what it seeks to hold back is "a small amount" of detail contained within three larger files. The Sunday Independent claimed that the files are linked to police intelligence and operational matters.

This includes the grading of intelligence information, "unique reference numbers", as well as details about investigative techniques and methods which, it said, are also used in "tackling terrorism and organised crime".

Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan told the meeting: "I want to emphasise the contents of every intelligence document is being released."

Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill has said using a PII certificate in the case is "totally unacceptable" and the Donohoe family deserves "to have the truth and transparency."

North Belfast based Sinn Féin councillor Ryan Murphy said on Twitter: "There was huge public demand for it and are glad that this will now happen.

"We will continue to stand with Fiona and her family in their battle for truth and justice for Noah."