Anger has greeted news that Fiona Donohoe has been required to attend a PSNI base for questioning over police claims a walk in support of her family may have breached Covid restrictions.
The PSNI stands accused of failing to properly investigate the disappearance and death of Fiona’s 14-year-old son Noah, a Catholic boy whose body was found deep inside a storm drain in June 2020.
Noah’s body was found six days after he went missing near the Shore Road in north Belfast, an area where loyalist attacks on children had been taking place. Some of his personal items were subsequently found in the possession of a man with family ties to loyalist paramilitarism.
Fiona Donohoe revealed on social media that she had arranged to speak to police with her sister Niamh in connection with the walk last March in support of Noah’s family.
The PSNI have said they want to question the Donohoes over supposed breaches of Covid restrictions, as well as the Public Processions Act, legislation which is normally used to manage contentious sectarian parades.
The insult to the Donohoe family comes as its campaign to force the PSNI to reveal four secret files on the case has grown. Almost 300,000 people have signed the petition in support of the release of the documents, the first stage of which has now been delivered to the PSNI.
Many more of the North’s politicians are also now expressing their support for the family’s bid to end the PSNI’s use of ‘Public Interest Immunity’ (PII) legislation to block material on the case being provided during the inquest.
North Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly hit out at the latest turn of events.
“It is astounding that PSNI, while refusing to release files to Fiona Donohoe, central to the investigation into her son Noah’s death, could think it right or acceptable to question Fiona and her sister Niamh about daring to walk the route that Noah took on the day of his death,” he said.
He said he would repeat his request for the PSNI to withdraw its application for secrecy around the four files: “Noah’s mother is entitled to transparency and answers, not secrecy and cover-up.”
The Donohoes delivered the first section of the petition to the PSNI on Friday, the date when the PSNI Chief Simon Byrne was due to sign off on the necessary documentation for the gag order.
Accompanied by supporters, Fiona Donohoe told a PSNI spokesperson they need the files released to secure justice, adding: “That’s your job, to serve justice, to give us, the public, justice.”
On Thursday 3rd March, a protest will also take place outside the Policing Board’s monthly meeting with the goal of asking the Byrne directly regarding his decision on PII.
“Our fight continues and we will never give up,” Ms Donohoe said. “We will continue to fight the PII to get justice for Noah. Thank you so much for all your support.”