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Noah Donohoe and the Police

A Public Interest Immunity request is a confession of police guilt

16 August 2022

‘Justice for Noah’ rally at Belfast City Hall.

The thousands who turned out at a Belfast City Hall on 13th August to demand a full account of the death of schoolboy Noah Donohoe and of police actions surrounding that death showed a growing suspicion of the police, made greater by their action invoking Public Interest Immunity (PII) and by the immediate acceptance of that demand by the new Secretary of State Shailesh Vara.

A final decision will be made by the coroner.

Noel died in 2020 following a confused and shambolic police investigation where they continually lied. His body was eventually found six days later in a storm drain and police failings seemed to continue, with an immediate announcement that there had been no foul play and a very limited investigation of the death itself.

A spontaneous movement, led by family and friends, has fought for two years to find answers.  The family were initially naive in their dealings with the police, but were continuously lied to and have taken a more public and confrontational stance.  They hope that the growing public pressure will lead to full disclosure.

People before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll, speaking at the rally, called for a withdrawal from Policing Boards by community representatives.   He was correct to make this call but the Sinn Féin speaker, John Finucane, did not appear to hear him.

Although the political opposition to the northern state is at a very low level, one of the aspects of the settlement was the claimed transformation of the RUC into the PSNI. That experiment is failing. The number of nationalist recruits has fallen sharply and there is widespread distrust of the police, with Sinn Féin’s reluctance to criticise them helping to dampen public discussion.

Spontaneous campaigns such as the Noah Donohoe action help to highlight the levels of internal corruption in the PSNI.  The issuing of a PII indicates that they have much to hide. Increased support is needed to break the wall of silence.

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