A painting by sectarian killer Michael Stone is being raffled to fund Twaddell Avenue’s loyalist protest camp in north Belfast.
Details of the loyalist fundraiser emerged at Saturday’s weekly Woodvale protests — where a senior Orangeman vowed to “upscale” protests against the decision to ban the Order from marching up the Crumlin Road past the shops at Ardoyne in north Belfast.
The pop art was on display as William Mawhinney, Grand County Secretary said protests should be upped to “civil disobedience”.
He said: “When the time is right we will probably upscale our protests, upscale them right up until civil disobedience if that's what it takes.”
The senior Orangeman was addressing a crowd of around 500 as a number of people sold tickets for the multiple-murderer Stone’s art raffle.
Painted by the Milltown Cemetery killer in Maghaberry Prison, the red, white, blue and gold piece is said to represent the ongoing north Belfast parades dispute.
Set on a black background, the artwork shows two women wearing sunglasses staring upwards at a Union flag.
In their sunglasses is a refection of two flute-playing bandsmen.
One ticket seller told Sunday Life: “The women’s hair represents the people, the flag represents Twaddell and below is the road we are trying to get up.”
She added that all money collected for the raffle would go towards funding the Orange Order and PUP-supported camp.
But Sunday Life can reveal that leading camp figures were not aware yesterday that the UDA killer’s art was being raffled.
The embarrassing oversight will raise questions as to how it came to be on display at yesterday's demonstration.
Among those present at yesterday’s weekly demonstration included Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds.
When asked about the Stone painting, Mr Dodds said: “I haven’t seen it, so I can’t comment.”
Stone was sentenced to almost 700 years in jail for six murders, three of which were committed during a lone gun and grenade attack on an IRA funeral at Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery in 1988.
Outrage was expressed in 2001 after it emerged that Stone, who learned to paint in jail, was selling his work for thousands of pounds.
In 2006 one of his paintings, titled Kneeling Nude on a Red Background, went up for auction for £10,000.
In August the 58-year-old was told he would have to serve the remainder of a minimum 30-year term given for six sectarian killings committed in the 1980s.
The ex-UDA man was freed under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 2000 but was returned to jail in 2006 for trying to kill Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in a botched attack at Stormont.