A censorship order has been signed by the new British Direct Ruler Shailesh Vara to prevent the release of information on the investigation into Noah Donohoe’s disappearance and death.
Noah, a 14-year-old Catholic boy, went missing for six days before his body was found in a storm drain in a loyalist area of north Belfast in June 2020.
The secrecy order is a new blow to nationalist confidence in the PSNI and its investigation into the death of Noah, which many fear to be a cover-up.
In February, the Donohoe family and their supporters protested outside PSNI headquarters at Knock in Belfast to challenge the plan to suppress the release of information held by the PSNI at the inquest into Noah’s death.
At the time, Noah’s mother said: “Whatever it says, for Noah, we need to know – we’re not going to give up. We will try everything to stop this public interest immunity going forward,” she said.
However, the certificate was signed by Vara (pictured, left) on Wednesday.
“How you were able to read all detail in short time to make decisions shows you are a puppet,” Fiona Donohoe tweeted in response.
“That you signed off on holding back information from us the public is not a good footing to start your term on”, adding “truth is the public’s interest”.
It has also emerged in recent weeks that two requests were made to the PSNI to declare the investigation ‘a critical incident’ in the immediate aftermath of Noah’s disappearance, but were overruled.
His mother has consistently questioned and criticised the investigation and has lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman’s office.
In a statement, Fiona Donohoe expressed her disappointment and said: “I cannot fathom how a child’s disappearance could not be considered to be critical. Time is critical, especially in those first 48 hours and we now fear what resources were denied to the search for Noah at what would have been a critical stage.
“We fear that forensic opportunities were missed by virtue of critical strategic decisions not having been taken appropriately in those first 48 hours, for example, should the public have been permitted to attend the location of Noah’s last movements.”