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November 24, 2006

Ahern & Blair Satisfied With Paisley's Clarification

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/25/06 Paisley Has Provided Clarity Needed, Says Ahern
IT 11/25/06 Blair Hopeful Despite Growing DUP Challenge
EX 11/25/06 Stone Intervention May Have Caused Paisley U-Turn
SF 11/24/06 Adams Calls For Re-Convening Of Assembly ASAP
IT 11/25/06 Stone Attack Overshadows Day Of Confusion
SF 11/24/06 Gerry Adams Address In The Assembly
IT 11/25/06 Process Survives Day Of Fudge And Turmoil
IT 11/25/06 Explosives, Gun, Knife & Abuse About A Sell-Out
IT 11/25/06 Stone Pulled Flamingbox Out Of Bag
IT 11/25/06 Michael Stone: One-Man Attacker
IT 11/25/06 Devices Crude But Capable Of Killing, Says Orde
BB 11/24/06 Stone Held Over Stormont Attack
BN 11/24/06 Friends Tell Of Stone's Crippling Illness
BN 11/24/06 Killer 'Acting Alone' In Stormont Attack
UT 11/24/06 First Signs Of DUP Public Split
BB 11/24/06 SF Councillor Gets 'Threat Warning'
IT 11/25/06 Opin: Sinn Féin Needs To Provide Leadership
IT 11/25/06 Opin: Bells Ring As Stone Farce Wastes Time
TH 11/25/06 Opin: An Ugly Reminder Of The Past
RT 11/24/06 15-Year-Old Dies After GAA Club Incident
RT 11/24/06 Three Surfers Rescued Off Clare Coast


Paisley Has Provided The Clarity Needed, Says Ahern

Dublin reaction: DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley's declaration
yesterday afternoon that he would share power with Sinn
Féin has provided the clarity necessary for the St Andrews
Agreement to work, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said.

Although he had been downbeat following Dr Paisley's
contribution in Stormont yesterday morning, Mr Ahern was
considerably more optimistic last evening following Dr
Paisley's statement that he would accept the nomination to
become first minister if Sinn Féin signed up to accepting
policing and the rule of law.

Asked if he had got the clarity he needed, Mr Ahern,
speaking to journalists in Dublin at 4pm yesterday, said:
"Yes, I have, yes." It had not been clear "what the
position was" following Dr Paisley's statement in the
Assembly, "but things have moved on", Mr Ahern said.

The attempt by an armed man to enter the Stormont
parliament building had "been a sober reminder that some
want to bring Northern Ireland back to darker days.

"There can be no delay in moving forward. I think the
matter is back to where I had hoped it would be this
morning. There is clarification on the two issues: power-
sharing will happen with the DUP if Sinn Féin deals with
the issue of policing.

"We always know that there have been difficulties and
tensions, but I am not going to make any comment about any
of the internal matters of the DUP. Dr Paisley has made his
position clear.

"This morning, I felt and others felt that he wasn't clear.
Many of the things he said were positive. Many of the
things he said in his contribution were very positive, but
he just left a doubt on that early question. He has now
clearly clarified that. That's the matter, as far as we are
concerned with, dealt with and now we can move forward," he

Sinn Féin, he acknowledged, faced difficulties about
policing: "I know that that is difficult for Sinn Féin, but
they are committed to dealing with that, and I am sure that
they will deal with that under their own process. They
understand what is necessary. If that happens, the Assembly
in transitional form will run, through the Programme for
Government Committee, up to the end of January. There will
be an election in early March.

"You have to accept in good faith that that was done. Sinn
Féin knows that they have to deal in their own process with
policing. They know when it has to be.

"There are tensions and difficulties," he went on, "but the
position that we have worked for this morning has now been
made clear, and as far as the Irish Government is concerned
now we can move on."

Earlier, Mr Ahern, in more pessimistic mood, said Dr
Paisley had not provided the clarity that had been demanded
by the two governments. "I think in an Assembly, a
parliamentary Assembly, clarity is a good idea. We didn't
get it this morning.

"As far as I am concerned, the issues outstanding are very
clear. The first minister and deputy first minister will be
Deputy Paisley and Martin McGuinness, and then we'll move

"This is how Tony Blair and I will be reading it. I have
just been talking to him . . . We are going to have
power sharing in the North. If neither of those issues
happen then we will have a real dilemma and we will move on
to Plan B. But obviously we hope that we don't. It would
have been nice today if we had got clarity. Dr Paisley says
he is a man of simple words. And today he wasn't."


Blair Still Hopeful Despite Growing DUP Challenge To Paisley's Stance

Frank Millar, London Editor

London reaction: British prime minister Tony Blair was
pushing ahead with the Northern Ireland peace process last
night despite the first serious evidence of a challenge to
the authority of DUP leader Ian Paisley.

Downing Street made clear that Mr Blair was confirmed in
his judgment to allow the Stormont process to continue by a
second, crucial statement by Dr Paisley yesterday
confirming that - providing his terms on policing and other
outstanding matters are met - he will accept nomination as
first minister in a new Northern Ireland executive.

That reassurance followed an apparent revolt, later denied,
which saw 12 DUP Assembly members - more than a third of Dr
Paisley's Assembly party - explicitly reject Mr Blair's
interpretation of Dr Paisley's opening statement at
yesterday's first meeting of the transitional Assembly.

Led by MPs Nigel Dodds, William McCrea, David Simpson and
Gregory Campbell, the 12 asserted: "Given the total lack of
movement on behalf of Sinn Féin on the issue of support for
the rule of law, the courts and the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, nothing that we have said or done today
can be taken by the government as an indication that they
can imply shadow, designate or any other status to anyone
in relation to the office of first and deputy first

Confusion about Dr Paisley's intentions at one stage seemed
to threaten to derail the arrangements agreed by the
British and Irish governments on Thursday.

However, the second, more explicit statement by the DUP
leader, which was delivered outside the Stormont chamber,
apparently provided the necessary reassurance for both
governments and Sinn Féin.

With his Assembly party reportedly heading to a crisis
meeting, Dr Paisley told the Press Association: "The prime
minister has made his decision about my speech and how he
interprets it. I have always said, as I said in the
Assembly, what my intention will be if policing and all the
other outstanding issues that are before us are settled.
Everyone already knows that in those circumstances after
they are delivered I would accept the first minister's
nomination, provided the election results are favourable."

Mr Blair emphasised that restoration of devolved government
also required Sinn Féin's "full support of policing".


25 November 2006

Stone Intervention May Have Caused Paisley U-Turn

By Harry McGee and Áine Kerr

HEAVILY-ARMED loyalist killer Michael Stone’s outrageous
attempt to storm the Stormont building yesterday may have
contributed to a the crucial change-of-heart by DUP leader,
Dr Ian Paisley on power-sharing, it emerged last night.

Stone attempted to enter the building some 20 minutes into
a crucial debate on the future of the peace process.
Although armed with a gun, two security guards grappled him
to the ground.

After an emergency evacuation of the building, police later
discovered between six to eight devices in a sweep of the
building, which were diffused.

The notorious terrorist was convicted to life imprisonment
after murdering three mourners and injuring 60 others at a
republican funeral in Belfast in 1988. He benefited from
early release after the signing of the Good Friday

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described Stone as going on a

British prime minister Tony Blair said the incident served
to “make us more resolved in consigning that type of
activity to the past.”

The alert completely overshadowed what had set out to be a
historic day at Stormont but had descended into what SDLP
leader Mark Durkan described as a fudge and “hollow

Both the DUP and Sinn Féin were to indicate that Ian
Paisley and Martin McGuinness were their respective choices
as First Minister and Deputy First Minister, in accordance
with a formula worked out with both governments.

However, Rev Paisley refused to do so during the debate.
“The circumstances have not been reached where there could
be a nomination or designation this day,” he said.

While both Mr Blair and Mr Ahern argued that both leaders
had fulfilled what had been required of them, a clearly
frustrated Taoiseach asserted that Mr Paisley had drawn
back from the agreed position.

“The clarity that we understood until late last night was
removed. I’m not going to say otherwise,” he told reporters
in Dublin.

However, late in the afternoon Dr Paisley issued a new a
statement indicating he would become First Minister if Sinn
Féin fulfilled all the conditions.

The dramatic volte face is believed to be in reaction to a
hardline statement issued by 12 prominent DUP members and
partly in response to the attack by Stone.

The Taoiseach welcomed the statement. “I said at midday
that clarity was necessary and Dr Paisley’s comments this
afternoon have provided welcome clarity,” he said.


Adams Calls For Re-Convening Of Assembly ASAP

Published: 24 November, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking from Stormont
this afternoon called for the Assembly to be re-convened as
quickly as possible. He said he stood by his comments in
the Assembly this morning, when he nominated Martin
McGuinness for the position of Deputy First Minister. He
called for good will on all sides to try and move the
process forward and said politicians should match the
bravery shown by the staff in Stormont this morning when
they tackled an armed gunman.

Mr. Adams said:

“I want to commend those staff in Stormont this morning who
showed such bravery in tackling an armed gunman. This was
a serious attempt to injure and kill. There are many
questions that need to be answered about security here, the
forensic history of the gun and the nature of the devices
that this individual had. The fact is that if he had not
been stopped people would have died.

“The Sinn Féin leadership have spent the afternoon talking
to the British and Irish governments. We want to see the
Assembly re-convened as quickly as possible. There is a
need for goodwill on all sides if we are to move forward.

“We set out our stall this morning and we stand by that. I
believe that all of the outstanding issues can be resolved
if the political will is there. We can’t be put off by
what happened here today, our focus has to be on securing
the return of fully functioning political


Stone Attack Overshadows Day Of Confusion At Stormont

Gerry Moriarty, Dan Keenan Mark Hennessy

The North's political process staggered forward yesterday
after an extraordinary day at Stormont in which loyalist
killer Michael Stone attempted to launch a gun and bomb
attack at Parliament Buildings as politicians were gathered
in the Assembly chamber.

Against the turmoil of Stone's attack and signs of internal
divisions within the Democratic Unionist Party, the
Taoiseach and British prime minister judged that DUP leader
Rev Ian Paisley had provided the necessary assurances that
he is prepared to be first minister on March 26th next
year, the scheduled date for restoring devolution.

Armed with between six and eight explosive devices, a
handgun and a knife, Stone attempted to launch a one-man
attack at Parliament Buildings reminiscent of his assault
on mourners at Milltown Cemetery in 1988 which left three
men dead and dozens injured.

A female security guard wrested the gun from him at the
revolving doors of Parliament Buildings while a male
colleague pinned the right arm of the multiple killer
against the doors. After a struggle Stone was finally
subdued, arrested and taken into custody.

On licensed release since 2000 under the Belfast Agreement,
he is now due to be sent back to prison to serve the rest
of a 30-year sentence, as well as facing charges relating
to yesterday's attack. Whether his chief targets were Sinn
Féin's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, as they were in
1988, or the MLAs generally, remains unclear.

In the Assembly Dr Paisley refused to be nominated as first
minister-designate until Sinn Féin had declared its support
for the PSNI. This was notwithstanding a warning by
Northern Secretary Peter Hain that if he did not indicate
his conditional willingness to be first minister on March
26th, Mr Hain would shut down Stormont.

In his Assembly statement, however, Dr Paisley said that
"throughout the DUP consultation we stated if and when
commitments are delivered [by Sinn Féin] the DUP will enter

In a subsequent statement to the Press Association, Dr
Paisley said that if Sinn Féin delivered on policing and
all outstanding issues he "would accept the first
minister's nomination provided the election results are

While there was no formal commitment in the Assembly
chamber to be first minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern,
British prime minister Tony Blair and Mr Hain took his
overall comments as sufficient indication that Dr Paisley
wants to be first minister, thus avoiding the collapse of
the transitional Assembly and allowing politicians move to
the next stage of the St Andrews Agreement - persuading
Sinn Féin to sign up to policing.

However, perceived hardliners in the DUP appeared to take
issue with Dr Paisley. Twelve of the DUP's 33 MLAs,
including four of its nine MPs - Nigel Dodds, Rev William
McCrea, Gregory Campbell and David Simpson - issued a
statement rejecting the interpretation that yesterday's
business in the Assembly amounted to conditional acceptance
that Dr Paisley and Mr McGuinness were now prospective
first minister and deputy first minister.

Party members such as MP Jeffrey Donaldson denied
suggestions of a rift within the DUP while one senior party
source said that regardless of any statements, Dr Paisley
dictated DUP policy.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams nominated Mr McGuinness as
deputy first minister-designate, saying he would be a
champion of "equality, fairness and justice".

Sinn Féin provided no indication yesterday about when it
would call an ardfheis on the policing issue. In fact Sinn
Féin MLA Francis Brolly is quoted in Swiss newspaper Le
Temps yesterday as saying it might not happen until the


Gerry Adams Address In The Assembly
this morning when he put Martin McGuinness forward as
the party's nominee for Deputy First Minister

Published: 24 November, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking at this
morning’s meeting of the Assembly said:

Tá athas orm mo chara Máirtín Mac Aonghusa a cheapadh don
phost seo mar Leas Chéad Aire. I am very pleased to
nominate my friend Martin McGuinness for the position of
Deputy First Minister.

I agree with Ian Paisley that today is an important day.
It is the beginning of a transitional assembly and by our
presence here today we have agreed to that.

Today’s event must also be seen as part of a process. Of
course, like Mr. Paisley, I too believe that we face great
challenges in the months ahead.

I believe that all of the parties in this chamber and the
two governments, if we stay focused and working together,
we can succeed in overcoming these challenges.

We have a lot in common.

We all want peace and justice for our families and

And all of us are meeting here today as equals.

We also share a common view, despite our political
differences, that British direct rule is bad rule. Our
people deserve better.

On social and economic issues, on health, education,
poverty, water charges and rates – these are the big issues
which people want to see their locally accountable
politicians, take responsibility for.

We, here, have the opportunity to bring back sensible
government, as well as the all-Ireland institutions.

The DUP say that they have difficulties sharing power with

I can tell you that many, many nationalists and republicans
are concerned at the prospect of Sinn Féin sharing power
with the DUP.

But this is a challenge that we must rise to and face
together. That is what being in leadership is all about.

I am also very conscious here today of the hurt felt by
protestants and unionists. I am equally conscious of the
hurt felt by nationalists and republicans at what occurred
over many years.

No-one has a monopoly on suffering. No-one in this chamber
can build a hierarchy of victims. No-one can in this
chamber can absolve themselves of responsibility to build a
new and shared future for all our people.

We all have to accept our share of responsibility for what

As Irish republicans we look to that great protestant
patriot – Theobald Wolfe Tone who sought the unity of
Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

And Martin McGuinness will be a champion for equality,
fairness and justice for all our people.

With goodwill and confidence we can create the space in
which all of the issues of difference, whether it is on
power sharing or policing, can be satisfactorily dealt

None of the difficulties facing us are insurmountable.

Today is another day in the inch by inch process of putting
the political institutions back in place.

But it is crucial that everyone understand that today is
part of a process. That it is not a stand alone event and
that progress is required in the short time ahead.


Process Survives Day Of Fudge And Turmoil

Stone's Rambo act fails to halt progress at Stormont writes
Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Struggling to see through the fog, discord and confusion at
Stormont yesterday what did we get but Michael Stone, the
Sequel - Rambo II - fully armed, bursting his considerable
bulk through the revolving doors of Parliament Buildings.

Medals of valour please for the security guards -
especially the woman who wrestled the handgun away from
Stone - who blocked him from the Assembly chamber where the
Rev Ian Paisley was testing the reporting and interpretive
skills of the journalists up in the press gallery.

Having skulked behind a gravestone in Milltown Cemetery 18
years ago as Stone's bullets were flying and his hand
grenades were exploding all around, and as three men were
being brutally murdered by him, the portals of Stormont
were as near as one would want this self-confessed and
convicted multiple-killer to reach.

He's murdered before, so why wouldn't he murder again?
Yesterday was farcical on occasions, but at least nobody's
dead. That's the first and most important judgment to make
about proceedings.

Another comment to be made is that not so long ago what
happened yesterday was the daily violent grind of life in
Northern Ireland. So, some allowances can be made for the
fact that inside the Assembly chamber matters bordered on,
and sometimes went beyond, the theatre of the absurd. But
at least it was politics - well, Northern Ireland politics.

The issue was simple: for Dr Paisley to indicate by some
highly-qualified use of the Queen's English that yes,
subject to Sinn Féin fully endorsing and supporting the
police and law and order, he would be first minister come
scheduled devolution day on March 26th.

We listened carefully to Dr Paisley in the chamber. He said
the situation had not been reached where he could be
nominated as first minister. But he followed and concluded
with what, we think, was the key fudged phrase required by
the governments, that "when commitments are delivered [ by
Sinn Féin] the DUP will enter government".

Was that, we wondered, an indicative conditional yes, no,
or maybe from Dr Paisley to becoming Stormont first
minister, following in a long line from the likes of Carson
and Craig, and those he helped destroy, Faulkner and
Trimble? It was a "yes", according to Tony Blair and Peter
Hain who work to their own political lexicon: therefore the
process could move on.

We were in Monty Python territory. One of its theme tunes
was, Spam, spam, spam. Here we had "Fudge, fudge, fudge".
But, if truth be told, that's what was expected. It may be
frustrating and embarrassing, especially for Mr Hain, but
it was a case of needs must; the political diet would
improve given a little more time, was the view of London
and Dublin.

Yet, amid all the confusion Dr Paisley found the time to
issue a statement through the Press Association outside the
chamber that "if policing and all of the other outstanding
issues that are before us are settled" he "would accept the
first minister's nomination provided the election results
are favourable". That seems clear.

But then what was being muttered about in recent weeks
became apparent: the first tangible signs of internal DUP
dissent, a seeming challenge to Dr Paisley's conditional
preparedness to take high office with Martin McGuinness.
Twelve Assembly members, the hardliners so to speak,
including MPs Nigel Dodds, Rev William McCrea, Gregory
Campbell and David Simpson, appeared to contradict what Dr
Paisley told PA. They said that nothing was said in the
chamber that could be construed as "an indication that they
can imply shadow, designate or any other status to anyone
in relation to the office of first and deputy first
minister." Some suspect that this is the DUP playing a
tactical "hard cop/soft cop" routine, but well-placed
sources say no, there are differences.

One senior party source, however, said the bottom line was
that Dr Paisley dictated policy. "What's important here is
who is leader, and it's Dr Paisley." On the day of St
Andrews Dr Paisley said he kept his pledges, and despite
all the turmoil of yesterday, the governments appear to
believe he is still holding to that pledge.

So, it's onto the final big issue: policing. If the DUP can
stay united the focus will shift to Sinn Féin. There are
some signs that Sinn Féin wants to play the issue long,
perhaps even delaying an ardfheis beyond January 30th when
the election campaign officially begins. Indeed, Sinn Féin
MLA Francis Brolly was quoted in the Swiss paper, Le Temps,
yesterday as saying it could take until the summer before
an ardfheis was called. It's difficult to see how the St
Andrews Agreement could survive such procrastination.

But that's next business, beginning at the Programme for
Government committee meeting at Stormont on Monday.
Yesterday in the dramatic wake of Michael "Rambo" Stone and
fudge politics, the trick was for the process and the
politicians to survive to the next stage, which they did.


Explosives, Gun, Knife And Abuse About A 'Sell-Out'

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor, at Stormont

It happened so suddenly. The figure of convicted loyalist
killer Michael Stone was being bundled out through the
revolving door of Stormont's Great Hall swearing at the
civilian security staff who were surrounding him. They
pinned him firmly to the ground, just in front of me.

He bellowed "No surrender" and what sounded like "No sell-
out Paisley" while cursing his captors, telling them to
"f*** off" and leave him alone.

Stopped in my stride by the melee, Stormont security staff
approached, screaming "get away, get away". A few camera
crews and photographers refused, staying to get the best

Stone had tried to burst into Parliament Buildings carrying
explosive devices, a gun and a knife.

He had used a red spray can to scrawl some graffiti at the
base of one of the stone pillars at the entrance.

Within a short time, Stone was firmly restrained and on the
flat of his back. A security officer held each of his limbs
and a female officer appeared to be trying to talk to him.

Again the security officers shouted at me to clear the
vicinity as others arrived on the scene.

More security officers in civilian clothes insisted I move
towards the side of Parliament Buildings, in the direction
of the private entrance normally used by Assembly members.

Already some of them and their officials were beginning to
stream from the building out into the driving rain, ushered
outside by insistent Assembly staff.

Confusion reigned, with those who had been following the
goings-on in the chamber emerging clueless into the
downpour. I could see Jeffrey Donaldson being placed in the
back seat of what I took to be a civilian-style police car.
It was then driven off hastily, its wheels spinning on the
wet road. Seconds later I saw Peter Robinson in the rear of
a similar car also being driven off at speed, lurching
around the corners.


Stone Pulled Flamingbox Out Of Bag

Dan Keenan

Eyewitness: "He was ranting and raving. He pulled a black
box out of his bag. I thought it was a camera, but it was
smoking and sparks and flames were coming out of it." One
witness gave The Irish Times his account as loyalist killer
of three Michael Stone attacked Stormont.

"He threw it towards the security people and I heard one of
them shouting, 'It's a bomb, it's a bomb.' The security
people grabbed onto him at the revolving doors and he
grabbed onto the door. He was shouting, 'You are all dirty
bastards.' A security man had him by one hand and a
security woman held him by the other hand. She was also
holding a gun that, I think, she snatched from him."

Camera crews and photographers in the Great Hall scrambled
to catch Stone's gun and bomb bid but were herded back by
Assembly staff towards the relative safety of the now-
disused Senate chamber.

Just outside, Stone lay pinned to the ground with security
staff holding his limbs. The woman who had wrested the gun
from his hands just seconds earlier appeared to be trying
to talk to him.

Within minutes the PSNI helicopter appeared overhead while
more and more police officers arrived to move us away from
Parliament Buildings and down through driving rain towards
the statue of Edward Carson.

More stories began to emerge from witnesses who had been
inside - each account more difficult to believe than the
other, but all essentially true. They said Stone had been
apprehended at the entrance to the Great Hall while in
possession of a gun, bombs and a knife before being bundled

Why a man who suffered from arthritis and often walked with
the aid of a stick would mount such an attack, with no
obvious escape route, baffled everyone.

Many who were in the building at the time of the alert,
including Assembly members and officials, stood amid the
rain and confusion.

Most had neither coats nor umbrellas and asked permission
to get back to their offices. But police officers simply
began to tape off the steps to the building and it became
clear that Assembly proceedings, and everything else, were
over for the day.


Michael Stone: One-Man Attacker

Michael Stone in recent years has been possessed of a
craving to grab the tabloid headlines. Not content with the
notoriety gained by murdering three people in Milltown
Cemetery 18 years ago, his vanity has compelled him to
maintain his name in the red top press, whether meeting the
late northern secretary Mo Mowlam in the Maze prison,
ridiculing another infamous loyalist Johnny Adair, offering
his opinion on the latest loyalist feud or on art, or
reminding people of all the people he put in graves, and
those he didn't.

His strange mind and ego appear to have driven him once
again to dramatically seek attention. What he did yesterday
didn't make sense in terms of his more recent
pronouncements on the peace process. He has declared
himself a supporter of the Belfast agreement, and was
released from a 30-year-prison stretch under the agreement
six years ago. He was opposed to violence; he wanted to
show young loyalists the folly of paramilitarism.

So, why attempt to mount a one-man attack on Parliament
Buildings, Stormont, just as he did at Milltown Cemetery in
1988 as the bodies of the three IRA members shot dead by
the SAS in Gibraltar were being buried.

Expecting to make it all the way through Parliament
Buildings and into the debating chamber where his 1988
targets Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were seated,
appeared over-ambitious even for the man whom admiring
loyalists nicknamed Rambo Stone.

However, it must be said that but for the bravery of the
male and female security guard who initially seized him
yesterday, he might have caused more grief.

All told he has spoken of being involved in up to 20
killings . He said he was once only days away from killing
the current lord mayor of London Ken Livingstone because of
his support for Adams and McGuinness. Indeed, Stone said he
was once only minutes away from assassinating Mr McGuinness
in Derry .

With 51-year-old Stone you are never quite sure which is
fact and which is fiction. He wears a bullet-proof jacket
and believes he is under threat. Married twice, he has nine
children. Living mostly in east Belfast he has made a
living from his modern art. He will now have more time for
that pursuit.

But his passion for media and public attention will be more
difficult to satisfy. Because of his actions yesterday any
future interviews with journalists seem certain to be
conducted inside prison walls, although whether within a
regular prison or some psychiatric detention centre is open
to question.



Devices Crude But Capable Of Killing, Says Orde

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Police reaction:The pipebomb-style devices that Michael
Stone attempted to carry into Parliament Buildings in
Stormont yesterday were crude, but capable of killing, PSNI
Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said last night.

The chief constable responded promptly to a call from
Northern Secretary Peter Hain for "an immediate assessment"
on the gun and bomb attack by Stone.

Within 30 minutes of the call, Sir Hugh commented on the
weapons used by the loyalist convicted murderer and on the
levels of security in place at Parliament Buildings.
Referring to the six to eight devices found in Stone's bag,
he said they were crude, yet capable of killing.

Speaking at police headquarters in east Belfast, he said:
"I think it would be fair to say they were fairly
amateurish in design. But that does not make them any less
dangerous. Their potential for death, destruction and
injury is being assessed."

Questioned about the police presence at Stormont, he
commended the current arrangements and the bravery of those
who disarmed Michael Stone.

"Security [ at Stormont] seems to be fairly effective. We
will of course review it and if there are lessons to be
learned we will learn them. But I am clear the situation is

It was reported last night that the presence of police
officers at Stormont had been reduced in response to some
Assembly members who wanted security cover at what is a
public building to be seen to be as close to normal as

The Stormont estate does have vehicle security checkpoints
at its main gates, but remains a public park which is
popular with local residents.

Sir Hugh said it was important to note that yesterday's
attack was not mounted from proscribed organisations still
committed to undermining the peace process.

"The threat was not from a dissident republican; the threat
today was from a lunatic," he said.

It was "a sad publicity act by a very sad individual", he


Stone Held Over Stormont Attack

Loyalist killer Michael Stone is still being questioned by
police after he burst into Stormont claiming to have a

Between six and eight devices in a bag carried by Stone
have been defused and are being examined by police.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said it was too early to say
what damage the "fairly amateurish" bombs could have

Stone attempted to enter Stormont during a key debate on

Assembly security staff disarmed him as he entered the

He was carrying a gun, knife and the suspect devices in the

Stone is being questioned about what Sir Hugh branded "a
sad publicity act by a very sad individual".

The chief constable said security would be reviewed at
Stormont but he understood that Speaker Eileen Bell - who
is responsible for the security at the building - was happy
with arrangements.

"He did not gain entry. The action of the security guards
was simply outstanding," he said.

"They made sure he did not gain entry to the building where
much important work was going on."

In 1988, Stone murdered three men at the funerals of three
IRA members. He was released early in June 2000, under the
terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Stormont meeting was being held to hear if the DUP and
Sinn Fein would indicate ministerial candidates.

The alert happened about 20 minutes into the proceedings.

It is understood Stone threw the bag into the hallway, was
detained by civilian security guards and Northern Ireland
politicians were quickly ushered out of the building.

It is understood the police are examining a number of
devices in the bag and are investigating if they were of a
type which had fuses which needed to be lit before use.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said that despite the breach, the
St Andrews Agreement remained the only way forward.

Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Blair said: "No move
forward in Northern Ireland is easy, we've learned that
over 10 years.

"It's not because the people, or indeed, the leaders in
Northern Ireland want it to be so, but because each step
towards a different and better future is taken alongside
the memory of a wretched and divisive past."

BBC political correspondent Gareth Gordon said it looked as
if the building would remain evacuated for the rest of the

Friday had been billed by the two governments as a
"critical day", with politicians gathered to hear if the
DUP and Sinn Fein would indicate their candidates for the
first and deputy first minister jobs.

During the debate, Sinn Fein said Martin McGuinness was its
choice for deputy first minister.

'Defend democracy'

In his speech, Mr Paisley said the circumstances had not
been reached where there could be a nomination or
designation by his party.

"There can only be an agreement involving Sinn Fein when
there has been delivery by the republican movement, tested
and proved over a credible period in terms of support for
the PSNI (the police), the courts, the rule of law, a
complete end to paramilitary and criminal activity and the
removal of terrorist structures," he said.


Stone murdered three men at the 1988 funerals of three IRA
members killed by the SAS

He was released early in June 2000, under the terms of the
Good Friday Agreement

"Clearly, as Sinn Fein is not yet ready to take the
decisive step forward on policing, the DUP is not required
to commit to any aspect of power-sharing in advance of such

Mr Paisley later said that if all the conditions were
fulfilled, he would accept the first minister's post after
a spring election.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey challenged the Speaker as to
whether DUP leader Ian Paisley had actually indicated his
party would nominate its choice for first minister.

"It requires to be clarified as to whether or not we have
witnessed a marriage or an engagement today," he said.

However, Mrs Bell said that it was now a matter for
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to decide.

Mr Hain said the assembly would meet on Monday and the
incident would not be allowed to derail the political
process "or the opportunity of getting democratic self-
government up and running".

"I thing its very important that the party leaders and the
parties now stand together and defend democracy against
this kind of violent attack and I hope the assembly can
convene quickly on Monday," he said.

'Hollow farce'

"I have just seen the leader of the Democratic Unioist
Party, Ian Paisley's statement in which he confirmed what
he said at St Andrews, it is his intention to accept the
nomination for First Minister, after the people have
spoken, after the election on 7 March and provided that all
the conditions agreed at St Andrews have been met."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that for a "split second"
an old agenda had resurfaced, and commended the bravery of
assembly staff who had tackled the feared paramilitary.

"Let's not be put off by what occurred here today, but
let's take it as an incentive to make sure that the people
get what they deserve," he said.

Mr Adams said the assembly should be reconvened as quickly
as possible and that "only when the session was finished
could a judgement be made".

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: "There is as much hollow
farce as there is historic significance in what we have
witnessed this morning".

If all goes to the British and Irish government's plan,
assembly elections will be held in March, with devolution
restored later that month.

The DUP and Sinn Fein get to nominate first and deputy
first ministers as they are the largest unionist and
nationalist parties in the assembly.

For months the British and Irish governments billed 24
November as a make-or-break date.

But since last month's St Andrews Agreement, the deadline
has been watered down, with no talk of the politicians'
wages and allowances being cut.

Friday's meeting of the assembly was the first since
legislation was passed to redesignate it as a transitional
body which will be dissolved in January, to pave the way
for elections in March.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Hain warned that he was prepared
to pull the plug on Stormont unless it seemed that progress
could be made.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/24 22:42:53 GMT


Friends Tell Of Stone's Crippling Illness

24/11/2006 - 15:21:55

Michael Stone is suffering from crippling arthritis and was
on medication when he launched his attack at Stormont,
friends claimed today.

“The man could hardly walk, and how he made it that far in
his condition is beyond me,” said one. “He has been an ill
man and for a long time.

“The medication might have something to do with his mental
state, but I wouldn’t write this off as the actions of a
crackpot. Michael hasn’t been well and is maybe a bit
confused. But he’s certainly no nutter.”

Television cameras caught him attacking the IRA funerals of
two men and a woman shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar, when
he killed three mourners who chased him through Milltown
Cemetery in March 1988. And he knew the cameras would be
there again today when he staged another solo-run at
Parliament Buildings, Belfast.

Stone was given a 684-year sentence in 1989 for six murders
and five attempted murders, but was set free along with
hundreds of other loyalist and republican prisoners as part
of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

Apart from the attack at Milltown, as one of the UDA’s most
feared gunmen who once stalked Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness in Derry, he was convicted of a number of
other murders of Catholics.

Once a free man again, he embraced the IRA and loyalist
ceasefires – and the developing peace process – but refused
to apologise for his past. He once declared: “If I was to
say sorry, I believe it would fall on deaf ears. Those
operations were military operations. I do not regret any
fatalities that have occurred.”

A womaniser, he has nine children from two failed
marriages, and at least three grandchildren. At the time of
Milltown, his status among loyalists was almost iconic. But
since his release, his standing has dropped.

Once feted and lauded everywhere he went, Stone, with his
trademark ponytail of greying hair, became more and more
isolated as loyalist paramilitarism, which became a virtual
by-word for organised crime and thuggery, imploded.

Friends and enemies were either killed off by rivals as
part of bitter power struggles, sent to jail, or like the
infamous Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair were forced to flee the

The two were inseparable at one time, particularly while
they were in jail together. But with Adair now exiled in
Scotland, they now loathe each other with a passion,
according to loyalists in Belfast.

Stone turned his hand to painting and has sold some of his
work for up to £10,000 (€14,761) a time. He also made money
from an autobiography which detailed his life as a loyalist

He spent time between London where he had a studio, Spain
and north Belfast, where he lived alone in a flat in the
working class Rathcoole estate. But he also had a string of
affairs and with a High Court legal action threatened over
his memoirs, Stone, who is teetotal and anti-drugs, had
little left in the bank.

Because of his physical state, he was in receipt of
disability living allowance.

Even though the IRA is on ceasefire, Stone told friends he
feared they would still try to kill him in revenge for
Milltown – using a gun he lost in the cemetery as he ran
for his life.

He later confirmed that it was Gerry Adams and McGuinness
who were his original intended targets that day.

Armed with seven grenades, a pistol and a box of ammunition
he had planned to strike inside St Agnes Church,
Andersonstown, during a Requiem Mass for the three IRA

“I wanted to pull a grenade out and blast the two of them
to smithereens,” he later wrote. But he abandoned the plan
after watching a weeping sister of one of the three.

“I saw her grief and felt sad for her. The blonde girl
saved Adams’ and McGuinness’ lives.”

Failure to go through with the attack inside the church was
a source of considerable regret which never left him,
according to associates. One of the few loyalists he has
any respect for was a north Belfast UDA man who attempted
to kill Adams in 1984.

John “Grug” Gregg who carried a tattoo of the Grim Reaper
on his back, wounded the Sinn Féin president when he opened
fire on a car near the centre of Belfast.

Gregg was out of jail within 10 years, but was himself
gunned down by Adair associates in February 2003.

Police in Belfast questioned Stone a number of times since
his release, once in recent months about the discovery of
an arms cache, and he believed detectives were building a
case to have him charged and sent back to jail because of
alleged self-incriminating evidence.

His worsening physical state however left him in constant

One associate said: “A lot of people are at sixes and
sevens where this (peace) process is going, especially
within the loyalist community. They are being pulled all
over the place and Michael Stone behaving in this way
really doesn’t surprise me.

“Until he is charged, or certified, we won’t know. His
standing may not be what it once was, but many people still
regard him as a loyalist icon. Alright, he may be confused
and not thinking straight, but the Michael Stone of a few
years ago would have gone in there (Stormont), or waited in
the car park outside and taken a couple of them politicians

“He would have been in severe pain, and I mean serious pain
because of the arthritis. He is in a really bad way.”


Killer 'Acting Alone' In Stormont Attack

24/11/2006 - 14:57:05

Multiple killer Michael Stone was acting alone when he
burst into the Northern Ireland Assembly building claiming
he had a bomb, former colleagues claimed today.

The Ulster Political Research Group, which provides
political analysis to the Ulster Defence Association,
distanced itself from Stone, describing his actions as
petty and irresponsible.

A statement said: “Michael has acted on his own and pushed
aside the worries, fears and hopes of our people to steal
the limelight for himself.”


First Signs Of DUP Public Split

A public split in the position amongst elected members of
the Democratic Unionist Party has surfaced for the first

By:Press Association

This afternoon the DUP leader, Ian Paisley, said he would
accept the nomination for First Minister if Sinn Fein
deliver on policing and law and order.

However, in a seperate development, 12 MLAs have said that
the current situation should not be see as Dr Paisley being
First Minister designate.

Ian Paisley said he had made his position clear on the
conditions of him accepting the post of Northern Ireland
First Minister.

The North Antrim MP was responding to claims by Prime
Minister Tony Blair, that the DUP and Sinn Fein had done
enough during today`s aborted session of the Northern
Ireland Assembly, to proceed with the St Andrews power
sharing plan.

After a group of DUP Assembly Members issued a statement
insisting the party had not participated in a process of
designating a Shadow First Minister and Deputy First
Minister, Mr Paisley told PA following the evacuation of
the Assembly: "The Prime Minister has made his decision
about my speech and how he interprets it.

"I have always said, as I said today in the Assembly, what
my intention will be if policing and all of the other
outstanding issues that are before us are settled.

"Everyone already knows that in those circumstances after
they are delivered I would accept the First Minister`s
nomination provided the election results are favourable."

Earlier on today a group of 12 DUP MLAs, including four
MPs, signed a statement rejecting claims that they had
taken part at Stormont today in a process which would see
Mr Paisley and Sinn Fein`s Martin McGuinness become First
and Deputy First Ministers Designate.

The statement read: "Given the total lack of movement on
behalf of Sinn Fein on the issue of support for the rule of
law, the courts and the Police Service of Northern Ireland,
nothing that we have said or done today can be taken by the
Government as an indication that they can imply Shadow,
Designate or any other status to anyone in relation to the
Office of First and Deputy First Minister."

The statement was signed by MPs Nigel Dodds, The Reverend
William McCrea, Gregory Campbell and David Simpson.

It was also signed by Lord Morrow and his fellow MLAs Diane
Dodds, Paul Girvan, Stephen Moutray, Nelson McCausland,
Mervyn Storey, Tom Buchanan and Assembly Deputy Speaker Jim


SF Councillor Gets 'Threat Warning'

A Sinn Fein councillor on Coleraine Borough Council has
said he has received a death threat.

Billy Leonard said the police told him of the threat on
Friday morning, and he assumed it was from loyalists.

He said loyalism in the Coleraine area "has declared its
own version of independence from other loyalists, who are
trying to move on".

"They do their own thing here so the battle for change will
definitely be greater here," he said.

Mr Leonard said the threat "was made in a certain context
of my work as a councillor".

He added that he would not be deterred from his work.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/24 16:21:46 GMT


Opin: Sinn Féin Needs To Provide Leadership

At this time of government frustration and political
weakness in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin has an opportunity
to provide the leadership necessary to bring about devolved
administration and Executive powersharing.

If republicans are truly committed to Wolfe Tone's goal of
uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter, they should
call a special ardfheis and take an early decision to
support the justice system within Northern Ireland.
Anything less will feed into the sterile politics of drift
and prevarication.

On past performances, Sinn Féin may seek to extract
political advantage from the situation by postponing any
decision on policing until after the Assembly elections in
March. That way, the nationalist population would be
encouraged to support Sinn Féin in the expectation that its
leadership would later deliver on policing and the
normalisation of society. To employ such tactics would be a
major mistake. It would strengthen the "nay-sayers" within
the unionist community, amplify the distrust that poisons
relations between the two largest parties, and postpone the
emergence of a powersharing Executive.

In seeking leadership from Sinn Féin, the emergence of
unprecedented dissent within the Democratic Unionist Party
cannot be ignored. Both governments had been led to believe
that party leader Ian Paisley would formally indicate his
willingness yesterday to become first minister, provided
certain conditions were met. Under internal pressure,
however, he declined to do so. Later, he modified that
stance and said he would take the job provided policing and
other outstanding issues were settled and the election
results were favourable.

It was a bad day for democracy in Northern Ireland. The two
governments were shown to be impotent in the face of
ingrained political suspicion. The elected Assembly became
a creature of the Northern Ireland Office. Northern
Secretary Peter Hain reinterpreted what Dr Paisley actually
said in order to keep the St Andrews Agreement alive. As
the Speaker of the Assembly Eileen Bell remarked, it was a
distasteful situation. The Assembly's credibility has been
damaged by this kind of Alice in Wonderland politics. And
Mr Hain's authority has been undermined. Last Wednesday, in
the House of Commons, he told the DUP there would be no
point in proceeding with the St Andrews Agreement unless
nominations were made for the positions of first minister
and deputy first minister. The governments have now resiled
from that position. It may have been a necessary fudge in
order to buy time and to keep the process going, but at
what cost?

The actions of Milltown gunman Michael Stone at Stormont
should not distract attention from yesterday's botched
political exercise. Instead, it should concentrate minds on
the potential for communal violence. There is a harsh
message there for vacillating DUP members. And, eight years
after signing the Belfast Agreement, Sinn Féin should be
ready, in the context of power-sharing, to support the
forces of law and order.


Opin: Alarm Bells Ring As Wild-Eyed Stone And Assembly Farce Vie To Waste Time

Miriam Lord at Stormont

Disturbing and depressing scenes at Parliament Buildings.
Then, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse,
Michael Stone hurtles through the revolving doors with his
wild eyes and weapons of war.

Hollow farce or crazy force? Take your pick - both options
offered were a waste of time. Some obstruct with vague
words and hazy commitments; others disrupt with a gun, a
knife and a bag of explosive devices.

Even without the astonishing arrival of a famous loyalist
killer on the scene, yesterday presented an infuriating
excuse for grown-up politics - Stormont style.

November 2006. Yet another historic staging post appears on
the horizon, where it is noisily noted, then duly bypassed
on Northern Ireland's never-ending road to nowhere.

It's not like much was expected of the politicians who
turned up for this first meeting of their "transitional
Assembly". In the touchingly eternal optimism of the
British and Irish governments, it had been hoped the DUP
and Sinn Féin would nominate a first and deputy first
minister for when the Assembly proper resumes on March
26th. (Mark it down as a future historic staging post, but
don't hold your breath.) It was never going to be that

From an initial hard-line position of "nominations or
nothing", the governments began murmuring that an
"indication of a nomination" from the parties would be
proof enough of their good intentions. By yesterday
morning, they were willing to settle for a "prospective

DUP leader Ian Paisley was the problem. Would he nominate,
indicate, prospectively indicate or positively aggravate?
The public gallery was packed with paid-up members of the
Potentially Historic club, experienced observers who
approach political deadline days more in the spirit of hope
than experience.

All eyes were on Dr Paisley, who sat with his arms
outstretched, palms down, smiling and happy in the
knowledge he was the centre of attention.

Madam Speaker called on the DUP leader. "Heee-agh! Heee-
agh!" rumbled his colleagues, lazily slapping their desks
like overfed seals. Big Ian rose to speak, delivering his
statement in a feeble, uncharacteristically quiet voice. He
said this was one of the most important statements he ever
had to make. After five minutes devoted almost entirely to
why Sinn Féin failed to deliver on its commitments, Dr
Paisley eventually had to decide whether or not to switch
on his indicators.

He didn't. Instead, he fudged. "Circumstances have not been
reached where there can be a nomination or a designation
this day," he mumbled.

He concluded with a resolute "Here I stand", and sat down.

Gerry Adams was next. As expected, he nominated Martin
McGuinness as deputy first minister. No one has a monopoly
on suffering, said Gerry. And if the DUP have a problem
sharing power with republicans, then many republicans are
concerned about Sinn Féin sharing power with the DUP.

To hoots of derision, Mr McGuinness formally accepted the
nomination. Sundry unionists of the non-DUP variety tried
unsuccessfully to make points of order. Madam Speaker was
on a mission, and she was going to complete it.

Going by the direction of the Secretary of State, said Mrs
Bell, she deemed both Dr Paisley and Mr Adams had
"indicated". This was subject to various terms and
conditions and the outcome of next year's elections. Big
Ian's two fingers of fudge, it seems, were just enough.

"No!" roared outraged unionists of the non-DUP variety and
nationalists of the non-SF strain. "Farce!" Neither Dr
Paisley, nor any of his colleagues, disputed Eileen Bell's
ruling. In fact, they said nothing at all, apart from
bickering with the Ulster Unionists, who bickered back.

The leaders of the UUP, the SDLP and the Alliance Party
took turns to savage, sneer and sigh. They were united in
their opinion that the acceptance of the DUP leader's non-
indicative nomination was farcical, and an insult to the
ordinary people of Northern Ireland.

Forty minutes into the farce, the fire alarm went off
briefly. It was ignored. A couple of minutes later, the
Speaker ordered the evacuation - "Unless you want to sit
here and be bombed". And so, side by side, politicians,
press and public shuffled down to the back door. It was all
a bit of fun at first, until a rising sense of panic seemed
to take hold and people were ordered outside and away from
the building.

In the distance, security staff were restraining a man
under the portico. There was talk of a bomb in the
building. People were pushed farther and farther away, and
finally told to take cover behind the statue of Edward

The politicians took refuge in the Stormont Hotel. Loyalist
killer Michael Stone, who had daubed graffiti on the front
of Parliament Buildings before attempting to storm it, was
bundled away by police. He left a rucksack of explosive
devices behind.

Maybe he did everyone a favour by ending the proceedings


Opin: An Ugly Reminder Of The Past

Editorial Comment November 25 2006

Remember, remember the 24th of November. Yesterday was
intended to be a turning moment in the history of Northern
Ireland: the day when Ian Paisley of the Democratic
Unionist Party and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein finally
agreed jointly to lead a power-sharing executive that would
restore self-determination to the province. Instead it will
be remembered for an entirely different reason. There can
be no more potent a symbol of why Northern Ireland needs to
move forward politically than the bitter and twisted figure
of Michael Stone. Proceedings had barely got under way at
Stormont when Stone, armed with knife, gun, paint canister
and a bagful of home-made bombs, burst upon the scene like
the spectre at the feast. His action was probably a
misguided publicity stunt, rather than a serious attempt to
kill and maim. Nevertheless, the incident was an ugly
reminder of a past that Ulster has been attempting to bury.

It raises serious questions about the level of security at
Stormont, given the importance and sensitivity of the
occasion. How could a notorious loyalist extremist, once
jailed for six murders, and now said to be virtually
crippled with arthritis, have come so close to causing
mayhem? If his intention was to undermine the St Andrews
Agreement and undermine devolution, he failed. In fact,
paradoxically, he may have let the protagonists off the
hook. Yesterday was intended as the deadline for agreement,
failing which the assembly would be closed for good. The
Rev Ian Paisley had already made it clear that he would not
accept his nomination as first minister until Sinn Fein
abandoned their longstanding refusal to accept the
authority of the police and law courts. (Sinn Fein has yet
to convene the special meeting at which the matter is to be
discussed. First, they are looking for definite commitments
on a timetable for devolving policing and justice.) These
barriers are not insurmountable and the St Andrews
Agreement remains a sound basis for the route forward.

Though progress has been faltering, Northern Ireland has
made impressive headway since the IRA ceasefire. The
economy is improving, Belfast is becoming a "happening
city" and the province has begun to take its rightful place
as a tourist destination. Scottish devolution, despite its
shortcomings, has delivered a level of democratic
accountability the people of Ulster can barely dream of.
Yesterday's outburst seems to have redoubled the
determination of all parties to deliver it and not allow
one deluded individual to drag them back to a dark past.


15-Year-Old Dies After GAA Club Incident

24 November 2006 22:59

A 15-year-old girl has died in Beaumont Hospital from
injuries she received in an incident on the old Navan Road
on 11 November.

Rebecca Kiely, from Castleknock in Dublin, was struck with
a baseball bat during a row which broke out outside St
Brigid's GAA Club.

Two men, both in their 40s, have appeared in Dublin
District Court in connection with the incident.


Three Surfers Rescued Off Clare Coast

24 November 2006 16:52

Three surfers, who got into difficulty in rough conditions
at rocks near the Cliffs of Moher, have been rescued and
are on their way back to Doolin Pier.

The three had jet ski-ed to Aill Na Searrach near the
cliffs to surf, but were forced onto rocks in poor weather

The Shannon based rescue helicopter was called to the
scene, along with rescue boats from both Doolin and Kilkee.

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