THE move by prosecutors to review a decision not to prosecute a Stormont department regarding the death of schoolboy Noah Donohoe has been welcomed by local politicians.
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.
Last year, police launched an investigation into suspected corporate manslaughter concerning how the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) managed access to the drain network.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decided not to proceed with the case against the DfI earlier this year.
However, at a preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast last week, it was revealed that the PPS are to review the decision not to prosecute the Stormont department about the death of the schoolboy in one of its drains.
This review is currently underway and for local Fermanagh and Omagh District councillors, it was an encouraging development.
Donal O’Cofaigh of the Cross Community Labour Alternative and Independent, Eamon Keenan, were among the councillors who gave speeches at an Enniskillen rally in support of the ‘Justice for Noah’ campaign last month. They were both heartened by the latest decision but believed more had to be done.
“There are a lot of aspects of the Noah Donahoe case that raise serious questions about those in authority,” councillor O’Cofaigh said.
“One is the fact that possible corporate manslaughter charges were not pursued against the Department for Infrastructure regarding the apparent ease of access to its drain network. This review may reopen that avenue.
“People are rightfully asking how preventing the disclosure of information into the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy can be an issue of public interest.”
Councillor Keenan felt that although the DfI should be held accountable for any failure to provide adequate safety measures or maintenance required for the storm drains, it was wrong to focus solely on a review of the DfI’s responsibilities.
The inquest into Noah’s death is scheduled to begin on November 28 and will run for three weeks.
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