THE news that Coroner Joe McCrisken has ruled that an inquest into the death of Belfast schoolboy Noah Donohoe should be held with a jury has given the campaign ‘hope’ a local politician said.
Noah (14) was found dead in a storm drain in Belfast in June, 2020 six days after he went missing as he cycled across the city to meet up with friends.
His mother Fiona Donohoe had made an application that his inquest should be held with a jury. The coroner granted the application during a pre-inquest review last week.
“We have been allowed a jury for Noah’s inquest. We are so grateful to Noah’s legal team and the Coroner. We went in defeated and have left grateful beyond words. Such an unexpected victory for Noah. Emotional, exhausted and feeling able to fight on knowing the right decision was made,” Niamh Donohoe, Noah’s aunt, tweeted.
Cllr Adam Gannon, pictured right, of the SDLP believed the move would help reassure the family and give them some hope.
“I’m glad to hear that the Donohoe family’s request for a jury has been facilitated by Coroner Joe McCrisken. The family deserve to get answers to the very many questions they have surrounding Noah’s tragic disappearance and death,” he said.
“There is widespread public concern regarding this case and having a jury at the inquest will hopefully give some assurance to the family and wider community that all questions will be answered regarding the case.”
A motion to support the Noah Donohoe campaign was passed by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last month.
An initial motion by Independent Cllr Eamon Keenan backed the Donohoe family’s call for Chief Constable Simon Byrne to resign over “PSNI failures under his watch and the mishandling of the investigation into Noah’s death”, demanded the PII (Public Interest Immunity) Certificate be lifted in the case, and called for all the politicians on the Policing Board to step away in protest.
An amendment later tabled by Sinn Féin Cllr Thomas O’Reilly did not seek the resignations but called on the Northern Ireland Secretary of State to withdraw the PII.
The matter went to a vote, which came in 14 to 13 on the amended version, with five members abstaining.
The inquest into Noah’s death is scheduled to begin on November 28 and will run for three weeks.
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