Rally scheduled to protest against police handling of Noah Donohoe case

Demonstration follows decision by Northern Ireland Secretary of State to give public interest immunity certificate to several case files

A protest rally against police handling of the case of missing teenager Noah Donohoe will be held at Belfast City Hall on Saturday.

The 14-year-old’s body was found in a storm drain on June 27th, 2020, six days after he disappeared. He was on his way from his home on Ormeau Road in Belfast to meet friends at the Cavehill Country Club to work on a school project. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has ruled out foul play.

He was last seen 5km from his intended destination cycling naked through a housing estate in Northwood Road in north Belfast. Why he went there and how he ended up naked is unknown.

Police say he had earlier fallen off his bike, hit his head and become disorientated.


A postmortem investigation revealed that he died as a result of drowning in the storm drain.

The boy’s mother, Fiona Donohoe, believes her son was murdered and that the PSNI has been trying to cover up the circumstances of his death.

Allegations that there was loyalist paramilitary involvement in his death have been denied by police.

Three files

The Truth and Justice for Noah Donohoe rally, which will take place at City Hall, follows a decision by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shailesh Vara to give a public interest immunity (PII) certificate to some files relating to the case. This followed a request from the PSNI.

It means three files relating to the death could be withheld from the inquest.

Noah’s aunt, Niamh Donohoe, said there was a “rash of questions” that needed answering in the case.

“He was in a part of Belfast where he had no reason to be there. Some people who lived in the street 20 years did not know about the storm drain. How did Noah know that a storm drain was there? We don’t know the truth. We are trying to find truth,” she told RTÉ's Drivetime programme.

She said people were angry about the PII certificates. “It raises many questions as to why they are seeking PII certificates. People are angry and they are demanding that this be reversed,” she said.

“If there is something in those files, Fiona, me and our legal team need to see it. How can we go forward in an inquest process if there is not full transparency? There is no need for it. Why is it not being used in other missing persons cases? Why is it being used in Noah’s case if there was no foul play?”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times