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November 24, 2006

Michael Stone's Bomb Threat Evacuates Stormont

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/24/06 Stormont Evacuated Over Michael Stone Bomb Threat
BN 11/24/06 Paisley Delays Power-Sharing Decision

Michael Stone (above) was held by security at Stormont
(See the video at:


Michael Stone

Stormont Evacuated Over Loyalist Michael Stone Bomb Threat

Northern Ireland Assembly members today evacuated Stormont
and abandoned their first meeting since the St Andrews
Agreement in a security alert.

Leading loyalist Michael Stone, in full view of journalists
waiting to interview politicians meeting in another room,
pushed through revolving doors at the entrance to Stormont,
shouting "No Surrender".

He then threw a bag into the security search area and
claimed it was a bomb. It has been reported that there was
smoke coming out of the bag and the sounds of sparks.

Security staff held him to the ground outside the front
door of the Assembly during the alert. Stone was
subsequently arrested and taken away by PSNI officers.

British army explosives experts are examining the suspect
device at the scene.

There was initial confusion as MLAs, their staff, employees
in Parliament Buildings, guests and media where ordered to
leave the building. Assembly members and Stormont staff
were urged away from the building after the initial
evacuation, amid fears a live device had been thrown

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has since ordered an
urgent report from chief constable Sir Hugh Orde into the
breach of security.

Stone, a former leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, is
most renowned for killing three people and injuring 60
others during a solo gun and grenade attack on an IRA
funeral in Milltown Cemetery in Belfast in 1988. He was
freed from prison in 2000 under the terms of the Belfast

The Assembly was meeting at Stormont for the first time
since emergency legislation was passed at Westminster this
week aimed at restoring devolved government by next March.
The Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein were expected to
indicate their choices for First and Deputy First Ministers
next year.

Concerns were expressed in Belfast, Dublin and London that
a dispute between the parties over policing could result in
the DUP refusing to name the Rev Ian Paisley as its choice
for First Minister next year.

c 2006

From BBC

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

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

"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.

In his speech, Mr Paisley said: "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
courts, the rule of law, a complete end to paramilitary and
criminal activity and the removal of terrorist structures.

"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

"The circumstances have not been reached where there can be
a nomination or designation on this day."

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.

"I have got a dissolution order drafted - we're prepared to
use it if it looks at any time in the coming period as if
there's no prospect at all of devolving power on 26 March,
after an election and the people have spoken.

"And what's important about today - and all the parties
signed up to the process today, to give an indication that
on 26 March, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness would be
first and deputy first minister respectively - they all
signed up to that process and they now need to indicate
whether they're going to fulfil that agreement."


Paisley Delays Power-Sharing Decision

24/11/2006 - 10:52:35

Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley today withheld
his name being put forward as the North's first minister-

However, he told the Assembly that, in the event of
republicans delivering on their obligations on policing and
ending paramilitarism and criminality, he would decide on
whether to enter a power-sharing government within the next

Mr Paisley's comments to the Assembly left Northern
secretary Peter Hain with a choice of whether he should
allow the St Andrews plan for power-sharing next year to
proceed or move today to dissolve the Assembly.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, however, confirmed that his
party would nominate Martin McGuinness as Deputy First

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