Redacted Files - British Minister Offers To Meet Noah Donohoe's Mother Over Withholding Of Information
Tuesday 16th, August 2022
Ireland Report / Story
Shailesh Vara, Britain's Northern Ireland secretary has offered to meet the mother of Noah Donohoe to explain why the decision was taken to approve a police application to withhold some information from an inquest into the death of Noah.

Mr. Vara has said that claims that hundreds of pages of police files would be redacted were "complete nonsense".

Additionally, Mr. Vara said that the decision on the redaction of the police files rests with the coroner.

Noah's mother, Fiona Donohoe is hoping to find answers to her sons death during the inquest and she has called for police files relating to the investigation to be fully released with no redactions.

A public interest immunity (PII) certificate has been signed by Mr. Vara following an application by the PSNI.

Joe McCrisken the coroner in the case of Noah will be the one to make the final decision on the PII application ahead of the inquest, which is scheduled for the 28th of November 2022.

Mr. Vara was asked while speaking in county Down about the anger over his signing of the certificate, he said, "First of all, can I express my prayers and thoughts for Noah’s family and friends in this very tragic and sad case."

"I think the whole community, our hearts must go out to the family at this difficult occurrence and this difficult time."

"What I would say is that as far as signing the certificate is concerned, I did it after very, very careful consideration."

"I looked at the files in detail and I can give an absolute assurance that… the redactions... are nowhere near the assertion made that there are hundreds and hundreds of pages redacted, that is complete nonsense."

"Let me make it absolutely clear that notwithstanding the redactions, there is nothing that would impact on the substance of the case concerning the sad passing of Noah."

"And of course the ultimate decision rests with the coroner who is an independent judicial officer and he will of course have the final say."

"I am more than happy to meet with Noah’s family."

"If they wish to meet me then certainly I would be delighted to do so and very happy to try and explain to Noah’s mother where I am coming from."

Northern Ireland first minister designate and Sinn Féin Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said Mr Vara's decision was "totally unacceptable", and added that the use of a PII in Noah's case was "wholly inappropriate".

The law firm representing the Donohoe family last week expressed "grave concerns" over Mr Vara's actions over signing the certificate, claiming the move appeared to "exacerbate rather than allay deeply held concerns".
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