ORGANISERS of a Fermanagh rally in support of the Noah Donohoe campaign on Saturday in Enniskillen have accused local politicians of making it a ‘green v orange’ issue so as not to attend and show their support.
All 40 Fermanagh and Omagh District councillors were contacted by the local campaign group, but the only ones prepared to show up and make speeches at the demonstration are council chairman Barry McElduff of Sinn Féin, the SDLP’s John Coyle and Adam Gannon, Donal O’Cofaigh of the Cross Community Labour Alternative and Independent, Eamon Keenan.
DUP, Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance Party members either did not reply to the organisers or told them that they would not be able to take part as they already have prior engagements or are on holiday.
Local campaigners said they needed ‘all of Fermanagh’s help’ if the truth was to be revealed and were hoping that all the political parties would be represented at the demonstration, which is to be staged at the Diamond in Enniskillen at 3pm on Saturday.
“We had 14 replies out of 40. Of those, only five will be speaking at the demonstration, while the others who did reply said that they had prior engagements or were away on holiday. The rest didn’t bother replying at all,” one of the rally organisers, Tina McDermott from Newtownbutler, said.
“I’m so annoyed. The political parties here are doing the usual thing and making it a ‘green v orange’ affair when it is all about helping a mother find justice for her dead child. Anyone who can’t see this is utterly heartless.
“It’s the same old story of politicians here sticking to their usual prejudicial sides, but it’s totally wrong on this occasion. I’m so disappointed in them. It’s disgraceful.”
People from the county were among the large crowd that attended a protest at Belfast City Hall last month over an application to withhold information in police files in the inquest into the death of 14-year-old Noah.
Ms McDermott hopes that the people of Fermanagh will turn out in large numbers again.
“On Saturday, Fermanagh people can show their support for Fiona [Noah’s mother] and that we stand with her in the search for truth and justice for Noah,” she said.
Ms McDermott also praised the hard work carried out behind the scenes of other local campaigners Ursula Britton, Sarah Cole, Gráinne Connolly, and Dympna Colgan.
The 14-year-old St Malachy’s College pupil went missing after leaving his home in June 2020 to meet friends at Cave Hill country park in north Belfast.
His naked body was found in a storm drain six days after he disappeared. A post-mortem examination found the teenager died by drowning.
Police stated from the outset that they believe there was no foul play involved in the cause of Noah’s death.
The PSNI has argued that disclosing the information, which includes details on police methodologies and source handling, would damage national security interests.
Northern Ireland Secretary Shailesh Vara has offered to meet Noah’s mother Fiona to explain his decision to withhold information from the investigation.
The inquest into Noah’s death is scheduled to begin on November 28 and will run for three weeks.
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