Noah Donohoe: Getting the Answers, Media Scrutiny, Truth & Accountability by Donal Lavery

(For legal purposes I must state that this is entirely my own political opinion, enshrined within the Human Rights Act 1998).

“Those who can make you believe ‘absurdities’, can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

“Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.” – H. Balzac

“Some things you must never refuse to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonour and shame.” – William Faulkner

A lady contacted me recently who has been following my commentary on the Noah Donohoe case and asked me directly what can actually be ‘done’ about it to achieve answers, the truth and accountability. At 28 years of age, I am unable to fully answer that given the inexperience of youth. For my lack of personal injustices on a scale of this kind, I do apologise. However, I will endeavour to be polite and answer the lady’s question as best I can as a young man who is only twice Noah’s age and who lives in the constituency where he went to school, disappeared and tragically died.

What I would like to say to people is that we are living in very ‘interesting’ and indeed ‘unusual’ times – where coroners are asking for people to potentially be ‘prosecuted’ for having a particular view on legal proceedings and a case that is widely in the public domain (in my opinion, anyway). Is this how liberty dies? In a suit, tie and with an air of officialdom? While I am not a spokesman for the Donohoe family, I think it’s fairly clear from their collective campaign (garnering the support of thousands of people in an unprecedented way) and the many murals which are being painted (among many other wonderful ways of keeping Noah’s memory alive), that they are somewhat concerned about where this is all going.

They’re right to be. You do not get murals on so many walls in any jurisdiction unless you have been the ‘victim’ of a serious injustice – in my own view.

Any self-respecting parent would go to the ends of the earth to get answers for their child and in doing so Fiona Donohoe is an absolute credit to herself, her family and her son. I have never before seen a lady handle herself in such a gracious and dignified manner – it reminds me of when President Kennedy was shot and his wife Jacqueline displayed the maximum honour and resilience possible throughout that horrific ordeal.

What has happened with Noah is one of the darkest and most frightening occurrences in our history. People are now asking me if it’s safe for their children to play and go to school in North Belfast without supervision – and the problem is, I am unsure if it is ‘safe’, so to speak. I genuinely do not know.

But if we are all to take this matter forward, then we need to hold all these officials’ feet to the fire and use the democratic protocols and mechanisms available to us in a peaceful and transparent manner. We need to show the world that children’s lives DO matter here and everywhere by setting a precedent – Noah is changing the world in death as he could have in life.

By way of addressing the lady’s point in moving things further on, I believe (and I must state this is entirely just my political opinion – which I am entitled to hold under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act (1998) and will express with respect to all) that the following actions could potentially have some constructive impact in advancing the quest for justice;

1. Let us establish an annual ‘Aisling Award’ for outstanding leadership qualities in young people in honour of Noah. – Please contact the relevant personnel with this suggestion.

2. Let’s keep painting both canvasses and murals, writing poems, composing music and utilising the power of the human spirit to conquer over despair and overcome injustice. Art is a tremendous avenue through which to honour Noah and his school should decorate their halls in his memory.

3. Perhaps someone responsible could set up a “go fund me” page to raise further monies for the Donohoe family and all their legal or other expenses relating to this affair, on the basis that it is the duty of everyone as good neighbours to care for other people’s children. We need to diminish the selfishness within our society that says “it’s a private matter and nothing to do with me or you”. Protecting human life is everyone’s business.

4. We all must write to the local MP for the area and tell him of our concerns and upset about this whole nefarious affair. You must ask him to request his colleagues to convene a meeting on debating this issue in a Parliament you do elect and can remove.

5. We should push for a filmed and live parliamentary debate on the issue of “police accountability” and a potential (in my opinion) ‘no confidence vote’ in both the Police Ombudsman and the Chief Constable, should answers and accountability be denied to us. I’m sorry but if someone is going to have power over your life and be able to make decisions and set standards which effect us all, then you should have the right to hire and fire them at the ballot box. Which is what we need to do in an orderly, democratic fashion.

6. Be conscious of the fact that a child has died here in very unusual circumstances; but also be cognisant of how democracy itself is dying in all of this. Do not stand for your freedom of speech being curtailed when this is a just and neighbourly cause. Link arms (when social distancing permits) and shoulder to shoulder stand to rid the working world of any inept or negligent figures of officialdom.

7. Let us exercise our democratic right to freedom of information, as enshrined in law, by serving constant emails and requests on the Police Ombudsman’s Office and that of the Chief Constable and PSNI, demanding answers to questions and concerns you have about this case.

8. It is the duty of a patriot to protect their ‘flock’ against a state controlled by “wolves”. Waken up to the power grab that is happening by civic authorities – who you do not elect and currently cannot remove.

9. Bombard the BBC with requests for radio and television discussions on the issue of Noah Donohoe and the campaign for answers thus far. I would happily debate Mr Nolan or speak with Eamon Holmes about the matter, as I did live with Greg Hughes on a Donegal-based media outlet. I have politely invited Mr Nolan some time ago to have that ‘big’ discussion with me at any time or venue of his choice and he has yet to even issue a proper reply. He certainly has nothing to fear from a 28-year-old who goes to bed with a book and cannot yet iron a shirt properly.

10. Understand that democracy is what is controversial here, not religion or nationality or even skin colour. We need to create a New Ireland that cherishes “all the children of the nation equally”, as proclaimed over a century ago. Remember that virtually every issue is political in some respects and if we are to tighten standards and better safeguard children then we need the democratic right to hire and fire those in authority across this island as a single social unit (which we cannot currently do with the ‘Sovereign Government’ in London. It is an unspoken perspective here among much of the population that if it were to emerge that there was any kind of police negligence, conduct unbecoming or state  or incompetence in this case, then Stormont would collapse again as no Nationalist could remain in ministerial office having signed an undertaking to support the police . It would be an even bigger scandal and hurdle than RHI; requiring enormous reforms and a more democratic structure held up by a new peace agreement to fully hold them to account.

This is a matter of supreme societal and political importance as it focuses on the simple but complex question of “Are you governed or are you ruled?”. Are you an active and concerned citizen or a passive and private individual, who cares only for their own children? I am not politicising the issues surrounding Noah Donohoe’s mysterious disappearance and death, nor am I loosely speculating. I am asking you to consider in your hearts and minds the prospects for changing our society via one man, one woman, one vote. We were told for decades that the ballot box must rule over the bullet. So, true to form, let us advance this campaign further into the area of children’s and citizens’ rights – and the most effective way of doing so is to democratise the entirety of Ireland as a society and one social and political unit. Noah wanted to change the world, so let us do so by changing Ireland first to ensure such an injustice can never occur again.

-I have included below the email addresses and contact details for those who I feel may be able to assist with this campaign and case in one way or another. If you are as concerned as I am about it, please express this respectfully to those in positions of leadership here, while at the same time allowing the legal process to take its course ‘without prejudice’.


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