R (The Crown) vs. Donohoe (Noah) – by Donal Lavery

“The book they try to ban always becomes a bestseller.” – George Galloway

“The Crown is a state within a state, surrounded by barbed wire, which is always in power.” – Tony Benn MP

-Before you read this I would like to point out that it is an article about a controversial subject by a controversial author with a genuine focus on the ‘public interest’ clause at the heart of this whole matter, touching on subjects regarding the “deep state” that some readers may find alarming. However, all is not what meets the eye and I will explain therein. As I’ve said before, never view anyone or anything in the “moonlight”; Rip off that mask and view them or it in the “sunlight”, warts and all.

Growing up, I always knew my wider family were political and some historical figures throughout Ireland’s history – from Cecil Lavery to Sir John and Lady Lavery (who themselves were described by Queen Mary, who commissioned much of Sir John’s art, as “the closest thing Ireland has to a Royal Family”). Indeed, Lady Lavery was the beautiful face on the Free State bank notes (gallivanting with one Mr Michael Collins and inspiring paintings of the ‘Immaculate Conception’), while her husband painted the portraits of Royals, Sir Edward Carson and all the leading Nationalist figures of the time. Their London home was a trusted meeting ground for British Cabinet Ministers and IRA men. So, this is not an attack on

either ‘Royalty’ per se or the British Royal Family. I don’t believe in hereditary monarchs but I think the Queen is a decent person in ways.

The subject we are touching on here is who, or ‘what’ exactly, is “the Crown”? And how does it relate to the Noah Donohoe case? It’s not a benign Netflix series and it’s not a piece of jewellery worn at ceremonies. It’s a ‘state’, or system, within the wider state and system. Not based on merit or achievement, but on birthright, blood and allegiance, including a fundamental relationship to the exercise of power in society. We live under laws and practices shaped by it, dominating every area of our lives, some more positive than others. But the problem with all this is rather that we cannot elect to keep nor remove it. And that’s dangerous, for death alone should be the only guarantee we all must face in this life.

Whether the mainstream media care to admit this or not, we used to toil in an “Orange State” and now live in a “rotten state” where we have been sold raft after raft of genuinely honourable agreements (on paper) between two sovereign governments (and the political parties), that never are fully implemented in the end (in practice). Every institution in this “wee country” is either collapsing under the weight of increasing demographic pressure or is de facto collapsed by a total lack of equality and credibility – from housing provision to welfare, the health executives and the police.

Now, we need a police service in any civilised country to uphold some measure of law and order. That’s a sign of civilisation and we cannot do without them. But many of the laws and practices we are compelled to live under were not made by us or for us. They were made to manage us, some even at the point of a gun. By conviction, I am no liberal when it comes to crime and would give every support to the police regarding tougher methods and sentences for those involved in depraved acts of abuse which threaten the health and wellbeing of wider society. But this should not distract us from the more seminal point that some people tasked with upholding and enforcing the law are breaching public confidence in the service itself.

Yes, there are standard community police who deal with common matters on the street to ensure good relations and social harmony. I commend that, as “Bobbies on the Beat”. But structurally there appears to exist a “force within a force”, who despise transparency and fail to meet even the modest standards they themselves are involved in setting at a senior level via the Policing Board. Again I say, we live in the North of Ireland, not the North of Korea, yet for reasons not yet clear I state;

1. The PSNI seemed to commit to having a widespread community consultation process on the disappearance and death of Noah in North Belfast, yet have done nothing to see this through of tangible substance on the ground.

2. No arrests have been made regarding his disappearance or death and no suspects questioned about it. The only prosecution is of someone who posted disturbing material on social media.

3. The PSNI would not even afford the Donohoe family the basic data right to have a copy of the leaflet they claimed to be distributing regarding Noah’s death and disappearance. What ever happened to Freedom of Information laws?

4. The Police Ombudsman’s Office are continuing to ignore demands to probe those senior officers involved in the investigation, trying instead to dubiously use the family’s right to mourn privately as an excuse to take no action.

5. Fiona Donohoe is having to bravely take on the forces of the ‘state’ via the legal system to attempt to secure some measure of accountability for the sake of both her son and the safety of children at large in our society.

6. Many of the senior media and political figures, with the exception of John Finucane, have not managed to utter a thorough word about this issue when we face the very real prospect that a potential (note I say ‘potential’) criminal and sectarian gang of child murderers are being harboured and protected by other citizens. I say this based on the evidence of raft after raft of similar sectarian attacks having occurred in that locality against Catholic youths.

7. None of the statutory bodies or Commissioners appear to have batted an eyelid to assist this family, as though an unspoken state “black-out” were in place.

8. None of the precedents involving missing children who were found dead appear to have been followed and emulated – from the Moors Murders to that of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman (who were my then age).

What happened to Noah was a ‘catastrophe’ and the bigger ‘catastrophe’ is that it could happen again. There has been no accountability, no admission of negligence, no debate in Parliament, no comprehensive community consultation, nothing. But I will say this, the Police Ombudsman’s Office has contacted me to say they have finally referred (after numerous pleas and exposure by the Sunday World) my concerns to the Ombudsman herself and that’s an important development – as she is accountable to the people who you do elect and can remove. So, it’s up to you all now – You need to contact all your elected representatives and demand that she be summoned before a live Committee of MLAs to face questioning and scrutiny over the lack of any proper probe into the PSNI and for the Chief Constable himself to appear before the Committee to answer for the actions and inactions of his officers. They must stand before parliament and answer to the public for their every word.

This is a fundamental question of who governs this “wee country”. The people you do elect and can remove? Or people in the “shadows”, who you do not know and certainly cannot sack at the ballot box? “The Crown” now finds itself questioned by the population.





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