Large crowds have gathered in Belfast to protest against the police investigation into the death of schoolboy Noah Donohoe.
Carrying signs and banners that read “Justice for Noah,” people chanted “No personal information” and “Tell the truth.”
Some wore GAA-style blue and white striped jerseys with the number 14 on the back, Noah’s age when he died.
When Noah’s mother, Fiona Donohoe, arrived at Belfast City Hall, there was a huge cheer from the crowd.
Signs with pictures of Noah and Mrs. Donohoe were hung on the gates of the community center before the protest.
There appeared to be well over 1,000 people in the protest when it officially began at 1pm.
The demonstration comes after Northern Ireland Foreign Minister Shailesh Vara signed a PSNI request for immunity in the public interest (PII) over three police files to be used during the investigation into the child’s death.
Earlier in the week, the law firm representing the Donohoe family expressed “serious concern” about Mr Vara’s actions, claiming the move appeared to “add rather than allay deep-seated concerns”.
Northern Ireland’s first minister-elect and Sinn Féin Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill said Mr Vara’s decision was “completely unacceptable” and that the use of PII in Noah’s case was “completely inappropriate”.
She requested that the PII request be withdrawn.
Noah, a 14-year-old student at St Malachy’s College in Belfast, was found dead in a storm drain in north Belfast in June 2020, six days after he went missing.
Ms Donohoe hopes the inquest will provide answers to some of the questions surrounding his death.
People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said ahead of the protest the Donohoe family “deserved to know the full facts.”
“The Secretary of State and the PSNI have so far resisted calls to withdraw this PII, so it is imperative that the public support Saturday’s demonstration to force their hand,” he said.
“I have previously written to the PSNI Chief Constable to express my concern about the use of PII by the police in this case.
“Typically used to protect whistleblowers, this type of certificate prevents a grieving family from learning the truth about the death of their loved one.
“This is unacceptable and deeply immoral.”
The request for redacting of sensitive materials made by the PSNI as part of the PII process must be supported by a certificate signed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland or another Minister in the Northern Ireland Office.
In late July, it was revealed that Mr. Vara had signed the PII certificate, drawing criticism from the Donohoe family.
The decision whether to grant the application now rests with the inquest’s coroner, Joe McCrisken.
The investigation into Noah’s death is scheduled to begin November 28 and last three weeks.
https://www.independent.ie/news/over-1000-people-gather-in-belfast-for-protest-over-noah-donohoe-investigation-41909658.html Over 1,000 people gather in Belfast to protest Noah Donohoe’s investigation