PEOPLE Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll has called on the PSNI Chief Constable to resign over alleged police mishandling of the investigation into the death of Noah Donohoe.

The body of the 14-year-old St Malachy's College pupil was found in a storm drain in North Belfast, six days after he went missing in June 2020.

One of new Secretary of State Shailesh Vara’s first acts after taking office was signing off a Public Interest Immunity (PII) certificate, which may be used to redact information on files relating to the investigation that will form part of an ongoing inquest.

The West Belfast MLA has written to police chief Simon Byrne to express “deep concern” about the PSNI’s application for a PII certificate.

On Monday, the PSNI responded to Mr Carroll to defend its application, which will allow it to withhold information from the Donohoe family.

Gerry Carroll MLA said: “The PSNI’s handling of the investigation into Noah Donohoe’s death has been a shambles from the very beginning.

“I have spoken to Noah’s family who are adamant that a new investigation should take place, as is their right.

“The PSNI’s application for a PII – typically used to protect informers – casts serious doubt on the police’s willingness to properly investigate Noah’s tragic death. The use of PII in this case is unconscionable and I would call on the PSNI and the Secretary of State to withdraw this immediately.

“Noah Donohoe’s family deserve the truth and any obstacle to that is indefensible. The family have also received legal threats from the PSNI, which has refused to conduct its investigation in a transparent manner.

“Police have played a nefarious role in this case from the outset and the Donohoe family have long called for Simon Byrne to resign. His defence of the police PII application in the face of huge moral opposition further highlights his intransigence. It’s time for him to go."

Sinn Féin First Minister-Designate Michelle O’Neill has also written to the British Secretary of State today about his decision to approve a certificate which will conceal information on the death of Noah Donohoe.

She said: “I have written to British Secretary of State Shailesh Vara today making it clear that the use of a Public Interest Immunity certificate to conceal information on the death of Noah Donohoe is totally unacceptable.

“We are talking about the tragic death of a 14-year-old child, his family deserves to have truth and transparency on what happened to this little boy.

“I previously raised my concerns on the matter with Chief Constable, Simon Byrne and Deputy Chief Constable, Mark Hamilton, where the case was put that any application for a PII certificate is wholly inappropriate and is adding significant distress to the Donohue family. 

“The application should be withdrawn immediately.

I will continue to support Noah’s mum and his family every step of the way in their search for truth, transparency and accountability.”