Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 1 September 2015

My Stormont stunt was performance art: Stone

By Maureen Coleman

Published 19/12/2006

Security guard restrains Michael Stone at the Stormont door
Security guard restrains Michael Stone at the Stormont door
The two security guards restrain Michael Stone outside Stormont

Milltown murderer Michael Stone has come up with a novel way of justifying his Stormont stunt - by claiming it was "performance art".

In an open letter to the Secretary of State Peter Hain and the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, Stone referred to himself as "an author and artist" and alleged that his "unfinished work", entitled 'Never Say Never', was aimed at exposing the "futility of the politically-motivated violence created in a political vacuum".

The notorious loyalist admitted his attack on Stormont buildings on November 24 was "extreme", but had the desired effect of highlighting the need for political stability in Ulster and the "obvious threat that without devolution and a sustained period of power-sharing between democrats, the spectre of our troubled past may return to haunt us".

Stone even went as far as to say that his "work" had been influenced by Picasso's painting of Guernica in which he depicted the slaughter of innocent civilians during the Spanish Civil War and by columnist Eamonn McCann, who occupied a building in Londonderry to protest against the war in Iraq.

He also claimed he was inspired by Revs Ian Paisley and Ivan Foster, who were forcibly ejected from Parliament Buildings in Stormont during an Anglo-Irish protest in the 1980s.

"As an artist I viewed the political event at Stormont as an opportunity to exhibit a work in performance art," Stone stated.

However, in a five-page letter to the Belfast Telegraph on the same day that he attempted to storm a meeting of the Assembly, there was no mention of " performance art".

Instead, the loyalist killer spelt out how he intended to target Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in the Stormont debating chamber.

Describing himself as a "freelance dissident loyalist", he outlined the possibility that he could meet his death as a result of his abortive bomb attack at Stormont.

Referring to his plot to target Adams and McGuinness, he said: "These sectarian bigots are unworthy to hold political power in any form of democracy in Northern Ireland."

But in his open letter to Mr Hain and Sir Hugh, Stone goes on to apologise to those who had been "adversely affected" by his " performance art".

He signed off: "Political conflict is a crossroads for art, the art transcends politics."

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